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Our firm announces the loss of a great partner, terrific lawyer, and outstanding person. Fred’s legal career began with Rushton Stakely in 1982. He remained a vital and loyal member of the firm until his death on June 7, 2022. The final eighteen months of Fred’s life were spent waging a battle with cancer. He died surrounded by his family at M. D. Anderson in Houston, Texas, where he had been receiving treatments for bone marrow and blood-borne cancer.
Fred’s legal abilities were well known and recognized. Many victories in courts defending doctors and hospitals throughout the state produced acceptance of Fred into the American Board of Trial Advocates and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Both of these prestigious organizations require extensive trial experience and demand that members practice with the highest degree of civility and ethics. Fred exemplified these requirements in all aspects of his practice. This was recognized by his being named President of the State Chapter of ABOTA and State Chairman of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
In his community, Fred was similarly recognized for his excellence and leadership. He served on the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Board of Directors and then President of the Montgomery Country Club. Fred served on the President’s Cabinet for the University of Alabama and, along with his wife, Florence, their children, Allyson, Ty, and Thomas and their spouses, was a fervent supporter of the Crimson Tide throughout his life.
The phrase which comes to mind at a time like this, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” precipitated by a book title is not necessarily as simple as it may sound. It is easy often to recognize and define “bad things.” Cancer, Covid, war, civil violence, and the list goes on from there. Sometimes, it is harder to recognize those who may be called “good people,” but in Fred’s case, this recognition is easy. Fred lived his life in devotion to others. His wife, children, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren were the core of his pride and happiness. Anyone who knew Fred and Florence knew a couple totally devoted and adoring of each other. While many men would choose to go to a ball game and cheer their favorite team on to victory with buddies, Fred’s first choice was always Florence, his love and his best friend. In addition, Fred had the strong support of two fine brothers, Tommy (Martha) and Johnny. His father, Tommy, and mother, Alice, indeed raised three outstanding boys.
Fred was devoted and loyal to the causes most dear to him. His loyalty extended to his church, St. John’s, and to his friends beyond his immediate family. His SAE pledge class was as close a group as can be imagined, remaining in contact and friendship long after their college days ended. They were in all respects “brothers.”
Most of all, Fred Tyson was a good man. His goodness was rewarded by the recognitions mentioned previously. His goodness, though, is best described by his behavior day in and day out. He refused to disrespect or dishonor his fellow man. He refused to speak ill of another person, choosing to avoid rather than confront those with whom he might have a disagreement. In our line of work, it is hard not to encounter situations where there are disagreements, but Fred always handled those as a gentleman. He rose above the fray and was kind and gentle to all, to all walks of life, races, and religions. His family and his church raised him to respect and welcome all people. In the true sense of the word, Fred Tyson lived a Godly life.
Fred’s passing leaves us the challenge to strive ourselves to be more like him. If we meet that challenge, we will all be better for it, and we will honor Fred’s memory as he would have it.