W. Rosser Thrash



W. Rosser Thrash, a respected local businessman and revered community leader, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 19 at his residence at The Palms in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He was a very young 84. To know Rosser was to love and appreciate this giving, spirited, accomplished and very special human being.

Rosser was born Sept. 8, 1932, in Macon, Georgia as the third of four children to Paul Alonzo Thrash and Ida Wadley and resided in Bolingbroke, Georgia during his youth. After graduating from Lanier High School for Boys in Macon in 1950, he proudly joined the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War, stationed in Jersey City, New Jersey. After military service, he enrolled at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he was a member of the SAE fraternity, graduating in 1960 with a degree in Business Administration.

While at USC, Rosser began working at T&T Sporting Goods for his older
brother Pat, who had founded the company in 1948. Rosser bought into the business in 1957 and worked there until 1967, when he opened a new T&T location in North Charleston, moving his young family to nearby Summerville in the process. Rosser’s love of both people and fair and friendly competition best explains why he relished spending most of his career as the owner and president of T&T Sports of Charleston. The sporting goods business allowed him to build and cherish the hundreds of invaluable relationships he would develop with area schools, coaches and athletes who all relied upon, and trusted his ideas and his expertise. Even after his retirement in 2002, he regularly visited the T&T offices and never stopped attending sporting events throughout the Lowcountry.

Rosser’s leadership and charitable contributions in the state and local community spanned more than 50 years and touched countless lives. Rosser was a longtime USC Century Club member, scholarship donor and ardent lifelong Gamecocks supporter. A past president of the Richland Sertoma Club in Columbia, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Summerville Sertoma Club, where he served as its founding president. He was the visionary and creator of the Sertoma Football Classic in 1970, an annual charitable event that, to this day, continues to kick off the local high school football season in spectacular fashion each August, while raising thousands of much needed charitable dollars. Almost a quarter century later, in 1993, his genius led to the development of the Rotary Roundball Classic, which has gone on to become a nationally revered local/invitational high school holiday basketball tournament. His fellow North Charleston Club Rotarians, a group he held especially dear, helped him take this tournament to record heights, with the American Red Cross benefitting each year from its existence. Those efforts help explain the recognition he received from the Red Cross and being named the 1994 Rotarian of the Year. In addition, Rosser was a founding member and past president for both the Palmetto Touchdown Club and the Executive Association of Greater Charleston (EAGC). He was also the recipient of the CSU Distinguished Service Award for his work on the Board of Visitors for Charleston Southern University.

The only thing Rosser loved more than his business and his community was his family. Rosser cherished his 59 years of marriage to the love of his life, Betsy (formerly Betsy White Coker of Columbia). He was the incredibly proud father of four children, all raised in Summerville, and the loving grandfather of eight. In addition to his wife, Betsy, of Mount Pleasant, Rosser is survived by two sons and two daughters: Bill and his wife Ann of Summerton and Ben and his wife Tracy and their children Regan, Cole and Riley Kate of James Island; Kit Thrash and her children Tatayana, John and Monic of James Island and Mari Wood and her husband Chip and their children Jackson and Davis of Charlotte as well as his younger brother, Frank Thrash (Mary) of Carrabelle, Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Ida, his brother Pat and sister Rosemary. Rosser was especially thankful for the love, care and friendship provided by his caregiver the past four years, Charmaine Summers. His family is most grateful for her unwavering assistance and support.

A devoted family man, the best friend to many and relentlessly charitable to all, he was forever faithful to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was a past member of, and served on, the Boards of both Bethany United Methodist Church in Summerville and the Presbyterian Church of Edisto Island.

Friends and family are invited to attend a visitation at Parks Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. and `a memorial service held at Bethany United Methodist Church in Summerville, on Wednesday April 26 at 2:00 pm. The burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations or support be given to The Roper Saint Francis Foundation - CBRI Alzheimer's, 125 Doughty Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401 or donations can be made at www.rsfhfoundation.org/donate with designation to CBRI-Alzheimer's Research. The family thanks you in advance. Condolences may be left at Parks Funeral Home’s online guest book: www.parksfuneralhome.com

Arrangements by Parks Funeral Home, 130 W. 1st North Street, Summerville, SC 29483.