William Brooks Tyson, Jr. ’42

William Brooks Tyson, Jr. ’42, of Florence, S.C., died Feb. 5. He was born in Florence on March 10, 1921, the eldest child of the late W. Brooks Tyson and Georgie Stackley Tyson. He was preceded in death by a sister, Marion T. Tomlinson, and brothers, George S. Tyson ’43 and Duncan W. Tyson. He is survived by three children, Christine T. Urquhart, Elizabeth A. McGucken, and William B. Tyson III; seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; and a sister, Betty T. Rhame. At Davidson, he was a member of Phi Gamma Mu political science honor fraternity and lettered in tennis. Upon graduation, he began his professional studies at Washington and Lee University School of Law, but was interrupted by the war. Seaman Recruit Tyson volunteered for the U.S. Navy the month following Pearl Harbor. Subsequently, the Navy called him to active duty, assigned him to Midshipman’s School at Columbia University, and upon completion, commissioned him as an officer. Lieutenant Tyson saw extensive combat duty in World War II, including both the Atlantic and Asiatic-Pacific Theaters. He participated in seven major invasions including Kwajalein, Eniwetok, the Marshall and Mariana Islands, Iwo Jima, and the biggest D-Day ever: Okinawa. He commanded assault boats, became an aide to Admiral Turner, was the executive officer of the USS Chilula, served on the Com Phibs Pac Staff and the USS Custer. Commander Tyson was discharged with over 40 years combined of overseas war duty and peacetime reserve service. After the war, he continued in the Navy serving as the executive officer and later, the commanding officer, of the Naval Reserve unit in Florence and twice attended the Naval War College. He was an active member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Tyson graduated from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1948, third in his class. He was a member of the Seldon Society, the Honor Court, Omicron Delta Kappa, and the Wig and Robe. He played on the university’s tennis team and was the first editor-in-chief of the South Carolina Law Quarterly (South Carolina Law Review Volume One). Tyson furthered his education by completing a master’s in law (L.L.M.) from Harvard University with a concentration in taxation and estate planning. While in Boston, he met and courted the love of his life, Phyllis M. Angell, to whom he was married for almost 58 years beginning on Sept. 17, 1949 until her death in 2007. Attorney Tyson was admitted to the Bar in 1948 and practiced law in Florence for over 57 years. At the time of his retirement, he was the senior attorney in Florence County. He served as a special master-in-equity a number of times. Judge Tyson was the United States commissioner (magistrate judge) for the District of South Carolina for 18 years. He is best remembered as an expert in property law, a scholar of the first rank, a patriot, and for his great sense of humor. He was a former deacon, Sunday school superintendent, and 88-year member of the First Presbyterian Church of Florence and its Lawson-Rain class. He was a past president and life member of the Optimist Club, as well as the discussion group he founded. He was an Elk and a Master Mason.