Alabama Law Remembers Professor Tom Jones

August 28, 2017


Dear Alabama Law Alumni:

With a heavy heart, I write to let you know that Tom Jones passed away last night.

Tom came to the School of Law in 1962.  Since then, he served in virtually every position available to a member of the faculty – from professor (rising through the ranks), to Acting Dean, Associate Dean, Vice Dean, and Professor Emeritus.  His impact on the School of Law – and on the students and colleagues he touched – cannot be overstated.  I know this because, before I became his colleague, he was my teacher.

Tom had a gravelly voice that conveyed a business-like seriousness.  But beneath that exterior, he had a wry sense of humor and a sensitive soul, with a heart as tender as they come.  He was also a person of enormous integrity.  In the dedication ceremony for the Tom Jones Reception Area for the Alabama Law Institute, Othni Lathram described him as “a gentleman of the first order.”

When another law school looked at hiring Tom as its Dean in 1978 (one of several schools that tried to lure him from Alabama Law), Dean Thomas Christopher wrote the following: “Professor Jones is a first-class person individually – a person of character, pleasing personality and real depth. He is a fine scholar and has a national reputation in the fields of probate law and tax. He is an efficient and pleasant administrator and is a good classroom teacher. I have no reservation recommending him – except that I don’t want him to leave Alabama.” Countless numbers of alumni and colleagues at Alabama Law are fortunate that he chose not to leave Alabama, but remained here as teacher, guide, mentor, and friend.

Our fondest wishes go out to Tom’s wife Shelley and to the members of his extended family.  I’ve been informed that a service to honor Tom’s life will be held on Thursday, August 31, at 11:00 a.m., at First Presbyterian Church, 900 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa.  Visitation will follow in the Family Life Center at the church.