Thomas Austin Yawkey was born in 1903 in Detroit, Michigan and was raised and educated in New York and Connecticut. Orphaned at a young age, Tom was left to the care of his uncle, a lumber, mining, and oil entrepreneur. Following his uncle's death, Tom inherited the considerable fortune that had been accumulated by the Yawkey family over the prior century, as well as a significant amount of land in Georgetown County, South Carolina that Tom's uncle had purchased in 1911.
A cum laude graduate of Yale University with a degree in engineering, Tom Yawkey purchased the Boston Red Sox in 1933 and married Jean R. Hollander in 1944. The Yawkeys lived in Boston and New York and spent winters in Georgetown, South Carolina. An avid outdoorsman and self-taught ornithologist, Tom carefully managed the South Carolina land through his own conservation practices, producing a pristine area reserved for waterfowl, turtles, alligators, and other wildlife.
Tom Yawkey was well known as a private and generous man who gave freely of his time and money to people and organizations in need. He often helped people directly with private gifts to support medical, college, and other expenses. Tom was active in the founding of Tara Hall Home for Boys and Georgetown Memorial Hospital in Georgetown, South Carolina. As owner of the Boston Red Sox, Tom Yawkey began quietly supporting the research of Dr. Sidney Farber and in 1953 decided to make the Dr. Farber's Children's Cancer Research Foundation, popularly known as the Jimmy Fund, the official charity of the Boston Red Sox. This support generated millions of dollars that were vitally important to the Children's Cancer Research Foundation, which became known as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1983.
Tom Yawkey was the Owner/President of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 to 1976 and Vice-President of the American League from 1956 to 1973. He had a long association with the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a Trustee and Chair of the Board. He also was actively involved with the Tara Hall Home for Boys, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and Georgetown Memorial Hospital. Tom has been fondly remembered by former players, employees, and friends for his personal character, intelligence, gentleness, and charity. Tom Yawkey died in 1976.