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Hon. Thomas B. Spain

In Memoriam (1928-2013)

Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP
19 N. Main Street
Madisonville, KY 42431

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With profound respect and gratitude, the attorneys and staff of Whitfield Bryson & Mason honor the memory of our friend and mentor, Thomas B. Spain, who passed away in 2013. His leadership, commitment to professional excellence and dedication to his family and community will serve as a beacon for our Firm for years to come. He was a dear friend and we will miss him. 

After graduating from Madisonville Public Schools, Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky College of Law, Justice Spain served his country in the Korean Conflict. Before his retirement from the military, he served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserves, achieving the rank of major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

As a young attorney, he worked for the law firm of Gordon and Gordon and Mills in Madisonville. He practiced with that firm and with Mills, Spain, Mitchell and Turner until 1973 when he entered the next phase of his career.

On June 29, 1973, Governor Wendell Ford appointed him circuit judge of Hopkins and Caldwell counties, where he served for 17 years. In November 1990, he was elected justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court from the First Appellate District. He retired in 1994 and spent the remainder of his career Of Counsel to WBM and its predecessor firm in Madisonville, KY.

“Justice Spain was known for being fair and for his goodwill to trial attorneys,” said Senator Rhoads. “Many of those young attorneys looked up to him as a mentor and sought his wisdom for guidance. A generation of lawyers have benefited from his insight and knowledge of the law.”


  • Western Kentucky University BA
  • University of Kentucky, JD 1951

Career highlights

  • Mills, Spain & Mitchell  (Partner) 1955-1973
  • Hopkins Circuit Court Judge 1973- 1991
  • Justice Kentucky Supreme Court 1991-1996

Special accomplishments

  • Thomas B. Spain KBA Continuing Education Award, est. 2003
  • Past president of the Audubon Council, the Kiwanis Club of Madisonville and the Kentucky Association of Circuit Judges
  • Henry V. Pennington Outstanding Trial Judge Award from the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys (1983)
  • Outstanding Judge Award from the Kentucky Bar Association (1985)
  • Man of the Year by the Lions Club