Tom grew up in working-class neighbourhoods. He was the smart-ass kid who disrupted teachers and classes and showed little respect for authority. His dry and often incoherent humour comes across in his stories and anecdotes. As a Foreign Affairs official, Tom became involved in some of the government's most secret secrets. He retired from the government at the end of 2004 but remains active as a trade consultant.
Tom and his wife, Angela, have been married for over 50 years, raising three boys in Ottawa. They have 4 grandchildren.