American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen sent the following message of condolence to Texas trial lawyers November 18, 2013, shortly after learning of Tommy's death.
Dear Texas Trial Lawyers,
Today we’ve lost a leader, a mentor and friend. Tommy Townsend, who served as Executive Director of TTLA for 23 years, was everything an executive director should be: inclusive, an active listener, good counselor, skilled negotiator, agile problem solver and a calming force in challenging times.
In the nearly 20 years that I had the opportunity to work with him, Tommy was always the first to ask, “How can I help?” There was never a question I could pose to him to which he did not respond immediately with his lets-roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-it-done attitude.
TTLA was Tommy’s life work. He loved the association and he loved the members. He was proud of Texas trial lawyers’ commitment to justice and was inspired by their work. He came to TTLA when Texas was a burgeoning red state and had to deal with the onslaught of tort “reform” enacted under Governors Bush and Perry. Having worked as the Chief Legislative Counsel for the Texas Association of Realtors and Sergeant at Arms of the Texas Senate, Tommy understood how to reach out to both sides of the aisle to achieve results.
I will miss Tommy. I spoke to him only a few days ago and am devastated by how quickly he has left us. I will be forever grateful for the years during which his anchoring presence provided support, guidance and friendship.