Thomas Ross Tolbert, M.D., 54, of Franklin, North Carolina, died peacefully on December 31, 2021, after a five year struggle with melanoma.
Tom was born on October 3, 1967, in Atlanta, Georgia to Julian Hudson Tolbert and Helen Ross Tolbert. He attended Sarah Smith Elementary School and Sutton Middle School. He entered The Westminster Schools in ninth grade where he excelled academically and finished as a National Merit Scholar. He also participated in various extra-curricular activities including the varsity soccer team, musicals, and the Westminster Chorale. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 1985. After graduating from Westminster in 1986, he went on to study at Davidson College where he majored in math as well as completing the pre-med requirements, helped reinstate the Kappa Sigma chapter on campus, sang in the Davidson Chorale, and was a North Carolina Fellow. He graduated Cum Laude in 1990 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
After spending a gap year delivering for Domino’s and working at Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta, Tom attended the Medical College of Georgia graduating with honors in 1994. He did his internal medicine residency at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, serving for an additional year as Chief Medical Resident.
In 1999, he began working as a primary care physician at the Lexington, Kentucky VA Medical Center. While there, he trained medical students and residents as well as serving in various capacities with informatics programming.
In February 2014, he began working at the Franklin, North Carolina Community Based Outpatient Clinic of the Charles George VA in Asheville where he remained a physician until his passing.
On December 27, 1993, he married Laurie Frances Crawford at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. They were blessed with five children born between 1997 and 2009. Dedicated to his family, Tom worked with his wife Laurie to homeschool their children.
Tom loved activities with his family including singing, gardening, cooking, volunteering with course decoration for both the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and the World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park, raising livestock, building small construction projects, and hiking. He also had a lifelong love of road trips, first with his college friends and later with his family.
Tom grew up at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta where he was active in the choir and youth group and participated in a number of mission trips. He and Laurie were members of Second Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, and for years Tom led family worship in the home. In 2015, he and the family began worshiping at Mountain Grove Baptist Church in Franklin, North Carolina where he led Bible studies and participated in worship.
Tom is preceded in death by his father and is survived by his mother, Helen Ross Tolbert, of Atlanta his wife of 28 years, Laurie Crawford Tolbert, and their children Griffin Ross Tolbert, Thomas Jackson Tolbert, Rachel Hilsman Tolbert, Benjamin Llewellyn Tolbert, and Bonnie Frances Tolbert, all of Franklin, North Carolina. He is also survived his brother Julian Hudson Tolbert (Jolene) of York, Pennsylvania, his aunt Susan Ross Sawyer of Atlanta, his cousins Cindy Sawyer Mollard (Roland) and Cathy Sawyer Rice (Scott), his mother-in-law Mabel Griffin Kichline, and numerous nieces and nephews.
There will be a private family graveside service at Arlington Memorial Park on Friday, January 7, 2022, followed by a memorial service at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta, at three o’clock. Masks will be required and social distancing is encouraged. There will also be a Celebration of Live scheduled for a later date in Franklin, NC.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Mountain Grove Baptist Church, P. O. Box 1772, Franklin, NC 28744; Water Mission, watermission.org; YMEN, ymenchicago.com; or Answers in Genesis, answersingenesis.org.
Moffitt Family Funeral Care is honored to serve Dr. Tolbert’s family.