In Memoriam

Thomas E. Abernathy

1941 - 2023

[As provided by Calland Abernathy & Family]

Thomas Edwards Abernathy IV, age 81 of Atlanta, Georgia passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, July 27, 2023, with his loving family by his side.

There are many adjectives to describe Tom (affectionately referred to as TEA):  kind, generous, devoted, driven, motivated, witty, thoughtful and loving are only a few. A devoted Christian, a man of high integrity who always lived by the Golden Rule. A man who would accept nothing less than doing his best, from his formative years throughout his entire life, and gladly shared what he had with others.

Tom was born to Elizabeth Henry Abernathy and Edwards Selman Abernathy on February 18, 1941, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He followed in his father’s footsteps by attending The Baylor School where his leadership prowess landed him the role Vice-President of his class. While at Baylor, he participated in varsity football, wrestling and tennis.

Tom’s education continued at Vanderbilt University where he received a BA in Political Science and History in 1963, and true to his nature, he became President of the Student Body. As president, Tom enjoyed the opportunity to meet and introduce President John F. Kennedy when he spoke at Vanderbilt. Tom was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Raven Society and a member of the varsity tennis team. After graduating from Vanderbilt, he attended the University of Virginia Law School from 1963-65, then took off a year to manage a political campaign in Tennessee before returning to Vanderbilt for his final year of law school where he earned a JD in 1967.

As a man intent on serving his country, Tom was a Captain in the U.S. Army from 1967-71 and taught at the U.S. Army JAG School in Charlottesville, VA. After his time in service, Tom moved to Atlanta and made it his home.

Tom joined Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP in 1971 where he was a partner and Senior Counsel of the Construction Group.  Tom worked at Smith Currie for 41 years until his retirement in 2011. During that time, he served as the Chairman of the American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law from 1983-1984 and on the Board of Governors, American College of Construction Lawyers from 2004-06.

Tom’s faith was the foundation of who he was. His dedication to his Lord and Savior was exemplified as he ministered to others through his many years of service to his community. Tom served as Chairman of the Atlanta Advisory Board of The Salvation Army and Atlanta Social Services Advisory Council. One of Tom’s favorite Salvation Army events each year was ringing the bell for the Red Kettle campaign.

He loved his church home, Peachtree Presbyterian, where he dearly and faithfully served. Wherever he was – with friends and family, at church, in the business world or in the community, his priority was his Lord, his family and friends.

Tom adored his loving daughter, Elizabeth and his grandchildren, Katherine and Robert, and was always in attendance at their numerous activities and sporting events. He was their biggest fan and so very proud of them.

Tom met Calland in a grief support group after they both experienced great loss with the passing of their former spouses. Fellow group members who Tom named the “fab four” became a nucleus friend group who loved and supported each other. Two years passed and Tom and Calland were married April 22, 2016. She was his angel and as his friend Rita said “she brought him sunshine.” For Calland, Tom was the Love of her Life.

Tom and Calland lived more life and had more adventures, laughs and tender moments than many couples experience who have had decades together. They loved to travel and see the world and made friends everywhere they went. Often people would ask Tom “what’s your favorite trip” to which Tom would reply, “the next one.”

No doubt, Tom was met by his Lord with outstretched arms welcoming His good and faithful servant.

Until we meet again in Glory. TEA, we LOVE you.

Tom is survived by his wife, Calland Dalrymple Abernathy, his daughter, Elizabeth Abernathy Poindexter and his son-in-law John Poindexter and their children Katherine and Robert Poindexter. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Cathy Bright (Frank), Cindy Shannon (Bill) and Carol Cartee (Gray), nieces Ashley Hall (Brian), Catie Strow (Collin), Kelsey Strand (Garrett), Kara Shannon and great nieces Hadley and Willa Hall. Additionally, his goddaughters Carrie Hutton (Jamie), Janis Chartier, and Abby Spangel Perry (Peter) as well as his dear friend Rita Owens. He was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Sarah Elizabeth Abernathy.

A memorial service will be held at 11 am Monday, August 21, in “The Lodge” (3417 Roswell Road) which is a building located on the Peachtree Presbyterian Church campus directly across Roswell Road from the Church sanctuary. A reception will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Area Command at 1000 Center Place, Norcross, GA  30093, or to Peachtree Presbyterian Church Renovation Project, 3434 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30305.

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