Ashley Cowan Tobias, Jr. was born in Charleston. He graduated from the College of Charleston, and then attended the South Carolina College Law School, earning his law degree in 1908. He practiced in Charleston and twice served in the South Carolina Legislature from that county.
He moved to Columbia in 1912, becoming a partner in Welsh, Nettes, and Tobias. In 1930, he formed Tobias and Turner. In 1927, he became the General Counsel of Palmetto State Life Insurance Company. He became its President in 1942 and led its dynamic growth.
A specialist in insurance law, for 25 years he was the South Carolina counsel for the National Board of Fire Underwriters and for the Association of Casualty and Surety Executives.
A devout churchman, active in professional and civic affairs, for six years he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Bar Association and for four years, Secretary of the South Carolina Democratic Executive Committee. During his tenure, the Australian ballot was installed. He was President of the South Carolina State Chamber of Commerce, the University of South Carolina Alumni Association and the Life Insurers Conference, and was District Governor of the Lions International.
Lawyer, executive, and civic leader, Ashley Tobias achieved success in all of his roles because of his industry and integrity.