Thomas Hockman Alford, beloved son of Jerry and Edwin Alford, brother of Duncan (1951-93), father of Louisa and Tad, grandfather of Ana, took flight to the heavens August 4, 2020.
Born December 16, 1949 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Tom attended Franklin, West Jr High, and Muskogee Central High. He played trombone in the marching band and guitar in The Bitter End. Tom graduated from the University of Oklahoma and went on to OU Law (1976). His brothers in Phi Gamma Delta meant much to him.
Tom returned to Muskogee in 1976 to practice law with his bride Martha Raber. Louisa Raber Alford (1982) and Thomas (Tad) Raber Alford (1986) were born and raised on Kendall Blvd in the former home of his mom’s best friend. Tom was a loving, hands on dad who was always supportive, instilled an appreciation for the outdoors, and taught by example that everyone is entitled to dignity and respect.
Tom’s legal career began as an associate with Wilcoxen, Cate and Scherer. In 1978 he became an Assistant District Attorney and ultimately Chief Prosecutor in the Muskogee County District Attorney’s office, serving under Drew Edmondson and Mike Turpen. He then spent five years in the Edmondson Law Office.
Tom was selected as Special Judge in 1985, beginning his calling as a judge. Five months later, he was appointed Associate District Judge by Gov. George Nigh to fill an unexpired term. Again in 2004, Tom was appointed District Judge for Oklahoma’s 15th Judicial District. Tom “retired” in 2018 after 34 years on the bench. Over the vast majority of his career and up until retirement, Tom retained the juvenile docket – a major passion of his - and served on the Oklahoma Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee. In 2000 he was awarded Oklahoma Press Association’s Right to Know Champion Award after being nominated by the Tulsa World for keeping the public informed. Tom also served many years on the Board of Directors for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. Tom saw the practice of law as an extremely noble profession and an opportunity to help those in need.
At 13, Tom lost his father to cancer and was raised along with Duncan by their mother, who worked retail many nights and weekends to make ends meet. His life prepared him to relate to others and be humble, and he took his duty to public service to heart.
Tom was most content in complete wilderness with a pair of binoculars. He also enjoyed his time painting, playing music, and on the Baron Fork at Wauhillau Outing Club and Blackacre in Adair County. He was a founding member of the Indian Nations Audubon Society. He also shared time with Muskogee Habitat, Muskogee Parks and Recreation, and Grace Episcopal Church.
Left to cherish him and many wonderful memories are Louisa, Tad and wife Brie and daughter Ana, Martha, extended Duncan and Raber family members, coworkers at the Muskogee County Courthouse and countless friends. Tom no doubt takes comfort in knowing what a long strange trip it’s been, but not nearly long enough for those who knew him.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Grace Episcopal Church (email@example.com ) and CASA for Children, Inc (www.casaok.org)
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