NEWBERRY — Paige Rister was born premature in Prosperity on Nov. 26, 1986, at three and a half pounds, staying in the hospital incubator at Palmetto Richland for about a month before coming home.
“The doctors weren’t sure if I’d make it or not,” Rister said.
Needless to say, Rister said she’s glad she did.
Rister’s father, Randy, is the pastor of Macedonia Lutheran Church in Prosperity and has been there over 30 years.
“He has never moved from that congregation,” Rister said. “We’ve been blessed to live in this area all my life.”
Rister says throughout mother Kathy’s working life, she was an X-ray technician, a stay-at-home mom, a massage therapist and worked at the Cracker Barrel in Irmo.
While Rister was in college, her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Although everything looked normal after treatments and surgery, this past November, spots were found on her mother’s lungs as was a brain tumor. Her mother is currently receiving chemotherapy treatments to combat the disease.
Rister has one sister, Elizabeth, and the two of them are five years apart in age.
“I prayed for her and wrote a little book about her before she was born, hoping I’d have a sister,” Rister said. Elizabeth is in her final year at Presbyterian College studying music education.
Although being a preacher’s child might label you to a certain extent, Rister said she was never “the regular kind,” and always tried to follow the rules and do the best she could in everything set before her.
“My mother always tried to make sure that everything was just right and my father’s work ethic has really rubbed off on me,” Rister said.
As a child, Rister recalls spending time in a pop-up camper with her family in the mountains of Maggie Valley, N.C., regularly during the summer.
“My father and I would put on water shoes and walk in the creek and I would sail little plastic tubs with princesses down the little rivers,” Rister said. “We lost a few along the way!”
Rister said she enjoyed these times with her family, roasting hotdogs over the campfire and eating s’mores along with the memories of sleeping inside warm sleeping bags.
When she was younger, Rister said her mother had to work with her in elementary school because she had a hard time learning to read. Spending hours with her using the Hooked on Phonics system, Rister believes this is where her love for reading came from.
“Through her unyielding support, my love of reading the written word began to grow,” Rister said. “Now I cannot put books down. I love to read.”
Closer to home, Rister said she enjoyed riding bikes at Dreher Island State Park in Prosperity with her family.
“I remember stopping at the tackle shop each time to grab an ice cream with Dad and play on the slide at the playground,” she said.
Another fond memory Rister has of her childhood is taking tap and clogging lessons with Deena Davis at Deena’s Dance Academy in Prosperity.
“It has since closed,” Rister said, “But I have so many fond memories of those jingling shoes and the glittering costumes.”
Paige Rister met her husband, Kevin Bruce Rister, in kindergarten at Little Mountain Elementary School. She said they slow danced together at someone’s birthday party her junior year of high school and have been together ever since.
The two were married Nov. 20, 2010, at her father’s church in Prosperity by her father and the preacher from Mt. Tabor in Little Mountain.
Rister’s husband works for the U.S. Forest Service in Whitmire as a forestry technician and loves the outdoors. She described Kevin as a good old country boy who is dedicated in everything he does.
In her spare time, Paige Rister enjoys reading a good book, and spoiling their three cats: Percy, Bastian and Vladimir. Rister’s love for animals led her to recently volunteer with the felines at the Pawmetto Lifeline Animal Rescue Center in Harbison.
“I want to give back to our community and make a difference in the lives of our animals,” Rister said.
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.