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Thomas Wiseman

Thomas A. Wiseman

37th Treasurer; Years Served: 1971–1974

Tennessee County of Residence: Coffee

Place of Birth: Tullahoma, Tennessee

Date of Birth: November 3, 1930

Date of Death: March 18, 2020

Political Affiliation: Democrat

Treasurer's Reports: 1972-73, 1970-71


Thomas A. Wiseman was born on November 3, 1930 in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Over time, Judge Wiseman received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 1952 and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1954. After finishing his higher education, Judge Wiseman joined the United States Army and served from 1954 to 1956. In 1956, he began a private practice law firm in Tullahoma. He continued his practice in Tullahoma from 1956 to 1963. Judge Wiseman moved his law practice to Winchester, Tennessee in 1963 and continued there until 1971.

While serving as a local lawyer, Judge Wiseman was also involved in state politics. From 1964 to 1968, Judge Wiseman was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. In 1971, Judge Wiseman was elected as the Treasurer of the State of Tennessee. He served as the State Treasurer from 1971 to 1974.

It was during Wiseman’s tenure as Treasurer that the seven separate pension systems set up for each of the various employee groups were consolidated in 1972 into what is now the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), considered a major contributor to the success of the pension plan today. Also while Treasurer, Wiseman began to invest state funds overnight and during weekends to yield greater earnings. As a result, he put more money in State coffers from investing idle funds than all previous Tennessee Treasurers combined.

Over time, Judge Wiseman sought other political positions by running for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Tennessee in 1974. With a crowded field of candidates and less finances than his competitors, Judge Wiseman did not receive the nomination to be the Democratic nominee. Eventually, Ray Blanton was selected as the Democratic nominee and he went on to be elected as the governor of Tennessee. After his failed attempt for the gubernatorial position, Judge Wiseman returned to practicing law and set up a new practice in Nashville, Tennessee.

After four years of working as a lawyer in Nashville, Judge Wiseman was nominated by President Jimmy Carter to a seat on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. On August 11, 1978, Judge Wiseman was confirmed by the United States Senate. From 1984 to 1991, Judge Wiseman served as chief judge and assumed senior status on November 3, 1995. In addition to serving as a judge, Judge Wiseman began serving as an adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt University Law School in 1989. He also received an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990. While Judge Wiseman earned many accomplishments during his lifetime, he also served as a Special Master for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1992 to 1993. On October 2013, Judge Wiseman retired from his federal judicial position.

Reference: “Judge Thomas Anderton Wiseman, Jr.” United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. ; “Thomas Anderton Wiseman, Jr. Biographical Directory of Federal Judges.