Tom lived a very unconventional life, so why would we expect his obituary to be any different? In keeping with “his” way, we are saddened to announce our loss, but Heaven’s gain, of Thomas Franklin Ligon. Tom passed away at his home in Memphis, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 with his partner in crime, Valarie Labens, by his side.
One of the first questions our family asked is, “Do they allow hunting in Heaven?” Because, if you knew Tom at all, you know hunting was his first love. Valarie might run a close second, but hunting was his passion. On second thought, fishing might be up there somewhere between first and second, but that’s one of the things Valarie loved about him ... his passion for the things he loved. She didn’t mind being third, as long as he lived his passion.
Tom was born August 31, 1950 in Clarksdale, the third child of Ed and Polly Ligon. When Tom was six years old, Ed joined Lake Charles Hunting Club, thus beginning Tom’s lifelong passion for hunting. Polly and Anne often got girls’ weekends because Ed, Waite, Tom and Richard were always at Lake Charles where Ed taught his boys how to be avid sportsmen. And boy did those Ligon boys ever love to hunt! That’s also where they learned, “what goes on behind the levee stays behind the levee!” ... always one of their favorite quotes.
Tom’s hunting skills were quite exceptional, but he also loved to fish and had the patience of Job when it came to waiting for that cork to bob. If anyone was ever looking for Tom, just check Lake Charles or the shores of Lake Ivy at Gumbo Flats in Quitman County. If not there, then panic and call Valarie, because those were his stomping grounds!
Tom was also a very talented carpenter and painter. He could build just about anything. If you wanted it done right … call Tom! He might not be the fastest, but in the end, you’d be very happy you hired him! Tom also loved to garden, from growing delicious tomatoes he loved to share, to potting plants and flowers to bring his siblings at their Orphans’ Reunion ... an annual gathering they religiously held every year since losing Miss Polly in 2004. Tom was also quite the musician! He loved to play the Blues on his guitar and harmonica, and you might even catch him belting out a song or two!
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Polly Ligon, and his niece, Elizabeth King “Beth” Burris. He leaves behind his partner, Valarie Labens, who put up with him for 18 years, and their fur babies that Tom simply adored, Emma-Lee and Lucy; his older brother, Waite (and Linda) Ligon; his only sister, Anne (and James) Burris; his younger brother, Richard (and Teresa) Ligon; his nephew, Edward Ligon, and his son Waite V; and his nieces Margaret Burris and Ligon (and Paul) Miller and their two girls, Gracey and Annie.
In typical Tom fashion, he insisted we not hold a formal service for him. The family will host a celebration of life later in the year to spread his ashes at his request. With much gratitude, we thank each of you for your calls, texts, prayers and every little thing you’ve done for Tom and our family. In lieu of flowers, we request that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the charity of your choice.
With much love,
The Labens-Ligon Family