Tom grew up in Longview, Texas. He graduated from Oklahoma State University and from the Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He served as Supply Officer aboard the Destroyer U.S.S. Harold J. Ellison and later as head of the Accounting Department at the Charleston Naval Base.
After the military, he entered the investment business and joined the Robinson Humphrey company in 1971. He retired 33 years later as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
He and his wife, Jane, live in Atlanta, but spend much of their time in Highlands, North Carolina. He is a member of the Capital City Club, The Piedmont Driving Club, and is a past President of The Highlands Country Club. He serves on the Vestry of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands and is President of the Bell Tower Endowment