Alabama Academy of Honor


Thomas Edward Rast

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2002 and 2003.



On February 28, 1920, Tom Rast was born in Holt, Alabama. He attended Barrett Elementary School and graduated from Woodlawn High School, both of which are located in Birmingham.

Tom Rast chose to pursue his college education at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, where he earned a B.S. degree in the School of Commerce and Business Administration. In college he earned varsity letters in the sports of track and boxing.

Mr. Rast was married to the former Minnie Hayes, and they are the parents of three daughters: Martha Rast Debuys, Nan Rast Lauten, and Jane Rast Arendall.

Tom Rast served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II from 1943 to 1946, two years of which were spent in the Pacific Theatre. He was discharged as a captain.

In his business career he was highly successful in the field of real estate. From 1954 to 1975, he was president of Johnson-Rast and Hays Company. He was chairman of the Board of Directors of LAH Real Estate, having sold his interest in Johnson-Rast and Hays in 1995. He was chairman of LAH Real Estate.

Mr. Rast was chairman of the Board of Golden Enterprises from 1975 to 1977. He was a past president of Birmingham Association of Home Builders and a member of the Board of Directors of Birmingham Area Board of Realtors. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of AmSouth Bank, N.A. and of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama. He was a past trustee of South Highland Presbyterian Church and a past trustee of Columbia Theological Seminary.

Tom Rast gave freely of his time and means to various civic, cultural, and humane activities in his city and state. He has an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Alabama, and was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 1993. Mr. Rast was awarded the Henry and Julia Tutwiler Award in 1998, the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham's Birmingham Business Hall of Fame Award in 1998, and the University of Alabama Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.

Thomas Rast died in March 2003.