Tom Trower 1919-2012: Tulsa attorney, decorated WWII veteran and top recreational golfer dies at 93
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 06, 2013
1/06/13 at 5:57 AM
For years, Tom Trower began every day the same way: breakfast at dawn at Cedar Ridge Country Club.
Then once he was properly fueled up, it was off to the course, where the retiree would give the best four hours of his day to the game he loved and where his exploits with a golf club would continue to turn heads.
Trower, who kept a 13-handicap into his mid-80s, routinely pulled off one of the most difficult feats in golf: shooting his age.
He did it more than 100 times.
Not even three hip- replacement surgeries later in life would slow down the longtime Cedar Ridge member.
At age 85, he was still playing up to 200 rounds a year - every day that the weather cooperated and even a few when it didn't.
A little cold was no big deal, said Trower's daughter, Sally Reubell: "On freezing mornings he and his buddy rigged their golf cart with a propane heater and 6-ml. plastic sheeting.
"When no mere mortal golfer would dare play, by golly he got his 18 in," she said, laughing.
A former Tulsa attorney and decorated World War II veteran who became one of the city's most accomplished recreational golfers, Thomas Harry Trower died Dec. 29. He was 93.
A funeral Mass was held Thursday at Christ the King Catholic Church. Fitzgerald Ivy Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Golf would become a good outlet for Trower, who had some tough memories to carry through life.
Over his three years in World War II, the former Army captain witnessed a lot of blood and death.
"I was always amazed that he could've returned and resumed life after seeing the things that he did," Reubell said, adding that her father finally started opening up about his experiences after seeing the movie "Saving Private Ryan."
During the war, Trower was an artillery battery commander for the 420th Field Artillery Group, 7th Infantry Division and participated in the successive invasions of the Pacific islands of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian and Leyte in the Philippines and Okinawa.
Once while scouting possible field artillery locations from the air, he was shot down, an event in connection with which he would be awarded the Silver Star.
Trower's most harrowing work actually came after the end of the war when he was assigned to canvass islands and roust out enemy soldiers from caves and crevices.
After his return, he put the war behind him to become a successful attorney and raise four daughters.
And he played a little golf.
A native of Bartlesville, where his father was a vice president for Phillips Petroleum, Trower was 11 years old when a friend introduced him to the game at Bartlesville's Hillcrest Country Club.
By the spring of his senior year in 1936, he won the Bartlesville city championship.
While working toward his law degree, Trower played at the University of Oklahoma when golf was a non-scholarship sport and in several amateur tournaments over the years.
Though he kept in tip-top shape through the end of his life, eventually Trower's failing eyesight - macular degeneration - would end his golfing.
"His scores had begun to climb into the 90s, and he couldn't stand it," Reubell said.
Still, his memories of the game were mostly good.
One of his favorites occurred in 1949, when as a junior member at Southern Hills Country Club he outplayed - briefly, anyway - golfing legend Byron Nelson.
Paired with Nelson in an exhibition match after beating the club's top amateurs in a tournament, Trower "outdrove Byron at first. But Byron started getting heckled. So he stepped up his game. And that was the end of that," Reubell said, laughing.
Trower was preceded in death by his former wife, Sara, and two sisters.
Survivors include his four daughters, Teresa Trower, Tricia Shelden, Sally Reubell, and Suzy Richards; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: For lawyer, age was no handicap on the golf course
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Tom Trower, a Tulsa attorney and one of the city's best recreational golfers, died Dec. 29. He was 93. Courtesy