Dr. Thomas C. Kisling (Tommy) was born January 28, 1957, in Chattanooga, TN. He attended OLPH middle school and Notre Dame High School, Class of 1976, where he loved playing football.
He graduated from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga in 1981, where he also played football and dedicated four years preparing for his lifelong dream of applying to dental school. He was accepted to the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry and was a graduate of the class of 1985. During this time in Memphis, he earned his pilot’s license—a segue that opened an entire new dimension to Tommy’s life of traveling and love of adventure and spontaneity.
Upon graduating from dental school, Tommy wanted to delve into the unknown of a bigger city and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he started a practice of his own. He had a successful practice there for eighteen years and then decided to move back home to Chattanooga. With his return to Chattanooga, Tommy shaped another prosperous practice for twelve years before retiring in 2012. The best part of his day was getting to know his patients and listening to the stories of their lives; he loved nothing more than hearing old war stories from the veterans. He attributes many of his relationships, fond memories, traveling adventures, and lessons learned to the path on which dentistry led him, both before and after retirement. The impact he made on his dental community of patients and fellow dentists and specialists was evident through his receiving of the Thomas E. Braly Award in 2020 “…in recognition of Faithful Service to the Science and Art of Dentistry and Devotion to his Patients.”
His zest for grasping life, adventure, knowledge, and love was an unmatched force that impacted everyone he met.
Tommy had a love for history, flying, cooking, reading, fishing, duck hunting, riding his motorcycle across the country and across Europe, good music and concerts, eating great food, traveling the world with Annabel and Courtney, a good glass of Scotch, and his amazing group of rowdy friends.
Survivors include the joy and love of his life, daughter Annabel, who is following in her father’s footsteps as a student at UT College of Dentistry; stepchildren Sophia McDonald Young and Whitfield McDonald; William (Billy) Kisling, his twin brother and lifelong best friend; and Courtney Burse, his partner, love, and soulmate.
Tommy was a wonderful, bold, and authentically rare spirit who changed the world for the better with his kindness. He will be greatly missed.
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