Tom Burleson was born in 1914 in Waxahachie.
Early on he made a living playing small league baseball through his mid twenties, but his temperament worked against his athletic career. He would refuse to play certain positions and occasionally climbed into the stands to fight hecklers.
Tom went on to marry and serve in the Navy until his abrasive manor caused him to be diagnosed as emotionally unstable and ended up him getting released with a honorable discharge.
After the military, he and his family moved to Fort Worth. He briefly held a low-level government administrative position then quit because of the pervasive corruption in war surplus sales.
He then went through a variety of jobs and career changes then moved the family to the California Bay Area and found his longest running job as inspector at Bell Helicopter. It was here that he began doing the small mechanical pencil drawings during his night shifts.
Following his retirement, he returned with his wife to Fort Worth, became reclusive and spent his time with his news magazines, library books, television, and his drawings. He sent his wife out for his supplies and stayed in his isolated world.
He passed in 1997 and although his family knew of his drawings, they were unaware of the extent until the discovery of boxes in a shed following his death.