Urbon Thomas Raines III, known as “Tommy” to his many friends, passed away on Saturday, May 21 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, after a long and difficult struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Tommy was born on June 24, 1952, in Vicksburg, and graduated from H. V. Cooper High School in 1970, where he was well-loved. He played football and basketball, but his real joy was singing in the school choir. Tommy told friends over the years that “people didn’t know what to think about the football player singing in the choir.” He had an opportunity to play football at Mississippi State University, but his heart pushed him in a different direction. Inspired by the Beatles and by many other great bands of the 60s, Tommy and his beautiful, long, curly hair embarked on a journey with music that created much joy and happiness for him over his lifetime.
Tommy graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in Business Administration and was a well-known musician in Mississippi. In addition to a full schedule of freelancing as a bass player, he was also committed to several great bands that included Peepuls Choyz, Blue Triangle, Fatback, Sassy Jones, Chemistry, Meet the Press, Green Fish, The George Ates Band, and Rhythm Masters. He recorded numerous commercial jingles, played on dozens of albums as a bass player, and performed all around the country in venues of all kinds. He was a master at sound and audio installation and many homes in central Mississippi today display his great skill. He was a perfectionist and it showed in his work.
Tommy was faithful to his friends and to his church. He was active for many years at First Baptist Church Jackson where he was a founding member of the Worship Band. He wrote music, played multiple instruments, mentored younger players, and traveled internationally with the church’s choir to Russia and Europe, as well as nationally to conventions across the U.S. representing Mississippi and First Baptist Jackson. His commitment to his church was the reflection of the kind of man he was. He was loyal and an unconditional friend.
Tommy lived a full life that included golfing with good friends, riding his motorcycle, touring with the Jackson Prep Show Choir, playing in school musicals, and teaching young people how to love music as much as he did. He loved sushi and trying new things and he had the innate ability to recall the most obscure trivia about any song that played on the radio. He loved Jesus and had a personal relationship with Him. He believed in the promise of eternal life and on Saturday, May 21, he met his Savior face to face.
Of all of Tommy’s accomplishments he considered his greatest to be his two children, Ryan and Sarah, and his granddaughter, Abbey. He loved them very much and they were in his heart until his last breath.
Tommy was predeceased by his parents, Thomas Raines and Joyce Tatum Raines, and is survived by his son Ryan (Priscilla), his daughter Sarah (Daniel), his granddaughter Mackenzie Abigail, and his sister, Becky Raines Caruthers.
Tommy’s funeral will be held on Friday, May 27 at 2 p.m., at Fisher-Riles Funeral Home, 5000 Indiana Avenue in Vicksburg, Mississippi, with visitation from noon – 2 p.m. The burial will be at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg.See a typo? Report it here.