Jennifer Disney, Ph.D
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Deane was born in Calhoun County, South Carolina on November 21, 1931. She attended Winthrop College, graduating as valedictorian in three and a half years with a B.A. degree in English and minors in Journalism and Latin. On August 16, 1953, while still in college, Deane married Lieutenant Banning P. Risher, who was on active duty in Lort Benning, Georgia. Deane finished her education, then joined Banning in Georgia. The young couple moved to Bamberg, South Carolina in 1955, where Banning taught at Carlisle Military School. In 1956 the Rishers began their family with the birth of the first of five daughters. In 1958 Deane and Banning were offered the opportunity to start a military college- preparatory school in Camden, South Carolina. The family moved, and Banning became headmaster of Camden Military Academy. As an able partner in the new school effort, Deane served in various capacities to improve student life. The role demanded much time and energy of the young mother, but she was up to the challenge. Deane's initial efforts included improving the appearance of the school grounds with numerous landscaping projects and serving as dietitian for the dining hall. In later years she supervised the student recreation center and canteen and organized numerous campus activities from dances to fine arts, foremost and always, she approached every task with a commitment to excellence and a focus on cadet health and morale. Deane also served on many community boards and volunteered in her church. In 1988, Deane served for two years on the first board of the Christian Community Ministry, a local organization devoted to channeling the resources of over 30 churches in Camden to help those in financial distress, following their retirement in 1995, she and Banning organized and led a new non-denominational program. Alpha Course, designed to lead people to a better understanding of Christianity. Eric Boland, the headmaster at Camden Military Academy, summed up Deane's qualifications for nomination to Mother of the Year: Throughout her life Deane has been a natural leader, over-achiever, caring mother and grandmother to her own five daughters, her grandchildren, and a 'mother away from home' to more than 5000 cadets who attended Camden Military Academy through the years. She has lived a life of duty and Christian caring-"always placing others above self, and her life brings dignity and appropriate distinction to the term 'mother.'”
Oral History | United States History | Women's History
Risher, Deane Rast, "Interview with Deane Rast Risher" (2015). South Carolina Mother of the Year Oral History Archives. 22.