Tom was born on July 16, 1940 to a Baptist minister and his wife. In the small community of Warrior Creek, South Carolina, he began his education in a 1 room school that taught the first seven years of school. Tom has always felt that his teacher during these seven years had the most and best influence on him regarding education. Tom heard his father preach three times a week as he grew, and began to read all he could about attorney Clarence Darrow. From this background came his desire to be a trial lawyer and his strong beliefs about civil rights and opposition to capital punishment.
Tom initially attended Furman University, where he was president of his freshman and sophomore class. After meeting his wife Camille while working as a counselor for church camp, he travelled with her to Missouri. He attended Southeast Missouri State for his junior year and the two were married. They returned to South Carolina where Tom graduated from the University of South Carolina. He immediately enrolled in law school and graduated in 2 ½ years.
Tom and his family moved to Rock Hill, where he joined the law firm of Ridley, Simrill and Bryan, later Ridley, Simrill and McKinney. After 18 years with that firm, Tom started his own law firm, and looks with pride upon the many uninterrupted years of service he has given Rock Hill and the surrounding communities. He has concentrated on building a highly regarded trial practice and been involved in many high-profile criminal and civil trials over the years.
Throughout his decades of service, he has been actively involved in both the legal and public community. He was instrumental in establishing the South Carolina Criminal Defense Association, serving on its board for several years. He was Chairman of Rock Hill’s annual Come-See-Me festival, as well as an officer in State and County Bar Associations, Sertoma, Jaycees, YMCA and Rock Hill Little Theater.
He and Camille have 2 sons and 3 grandchildren. He sincerely believes in the honor and goodness of the legal profession and in his responsibility to it and the people he represents.
Tom continues to enjoy being a part of the legal community through his efforts as a Certified Mediator.