C. Thomas Wyche was born January 28, 1926, in Greenville, SC, to parents Cyril G. Wyche and Mary Wheeler Wyche. He received his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Yale University in 1946 and his LL.B from the University of Virginia in 1949, Omicron Delta Kappa. In 1997, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Clemson University and an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree from Furman University. In 1998, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Wofford College. In 1949, he joined Wyche Law Firm in Greenville, SC, and practiced there his entire career. He was a member of the American Bar Association, American Judicature Society and the SC Bar. Tommy was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America in corporate law for 12 consecutive years.
He was chief architect of the conservation of over 100,000 acres of the SC mountains and was recognized as one of our nation’s great conservationists. In 1972, he founded the Naturaland Trust, a land trust organization. He oversaw the design and creation of two South Carolina state parks, Caesars Head State Park and Jones Gap State Park; 43 hiking trails in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area; and a guidebook to the trail system, Guide to the Mountain Bridge Trails. He also designed and sponsored the building of the only wilderness suspension bridge in the South.
He was the recipient of over 30 honors and awards, including the SC Wildlife Federation Environmentalist of the Year; Gulf Oil National Conservation Award; The Nature Conservancy Oak Leaf Award; Frances K. Hutchinson Medal from The Garden Club of America; American Bar Association Award for Excellence in Environmental and Resource Stewardship; Palmetto Conservation Foundation BMW Conservationist of the Year Award; National Wildlife Federation National Conservation Achievement Award, Special Achievement category; and the Order of the Palmetto, which he received twice.
He played a major role in the rebirth of Greenville, SC’s award-winning downtown. In 2015, the Tommy Wyche Vision Award was established in his honor.
Tommy served on the SC Bar Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline and served on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including the Citizens & Southern Corporation, C&S National Bank of SC, Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Greenville Symphony Association, Greenville Country Club, United Way of Greenville, Greenville County Foundation and the Governor’s School for the Arts.
He was former president of Greenville YMCA, Greenville Little Theatre and Greenville Arts Festival Association, general chairman of the YMCA New Building Capital Fund Drive, member of the four-member Steering Committee for Total Development of Greenville County, secretary of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Study of Greenville Watershed Lands and was a member of the Greenville Rotary Club, Cotillion Club and the Poinsett Club. Tommy was an accomplished nature photographer who published six nature photography books.
C. Thomas Wyche died on January 23, 2015. He is survived by his three children, Brad Wyche (Diane), Sally Coenen (Dan) and Mimi Wyche (Davis Enloe); five grandchildren, Michael Coenen, Charles Wyche, Amy Coenen, Jessica Wyche and Claire Coenen; and two great grandchildren, Alice Arkin-Gallagher and Mary W. Wyche. He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Harriet Smith Wyche.