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 Clyde Anderson Tolson

Clyde Anderson Tolson

Laredo, Grundy County, Missouri, USA
Death 14 Apr 1975 (aged 74)
Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
Plot Range 20, Site 156
Memorial ID 2408 · View Source
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Deputy Director Federal Bureau of Investigation. He carried out the policies and directives of bureau boss J. Edgar Hoover for over forty years. Clyde Anderson Tolson was born in a rural area near Laredo, Missouri to farmer James W. Tolson and his wife. He moved with the family to Cedar Rapids as his father gave up farming and went to work for the railroad. Clyde enrolled at Cedar Rapids Business College and upon graduation relocated to Washington DC. at the start of World War I finding employment with the War Department as a clerk. He attended George Washington University at night receiving a bachelor's degree then a law degree two years later. Tolson applied to become an FBI agent and was hired in 1928. Within three years, he quickly moved up the ranks to associate director and right hand man to the FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover where he remained as confidant and close companion until his death. He took care of all personnel and disciplinary matters and was responsible for implementation of Hoover's policies and edicts. The bachelors were close on the job and off, traveling, vacationing and attending social engagements together. They were often seen at the horse races at Del Mar, California, the Stork Club, Yankee Stadium and boxing matches during holiday trips to New York. When Tolson's parents died, Hoover returned to Iowa with him for their funerals. Tolson experienced serious health issues during the last four years in the service of the FBI suffering a series of debilitating strokes which left him in a wheel chair. Upon finding the body of Bureau Chief J. Edgar Hoover by agent chauffeur James Crawford, he was the first notified, being the executor and chief beneficiary of the estate, decisions were his to make. Hoover had indicated a small Masonic service but President Nixon countermanded with a huge state funeral. The procession from the Capitol Building to the church was lined with thousands of agents standing at attention as the casket passed. The draped flag was folded and presented to Tolson by the military after the service. President Nixon quickly appointed assistant Attorney General L. Patrick Gray III as temporary head of the bureau with orders to seize the secret files. They were now the property of Clyde Tolson and he refused the Presidential order. In his last official act as associate director of the FBI, an organization to which he had devoted his life for the past 44 years, Tolson instructed Hoover's executive secretary Helen Gandy, who was with him for 54 years, to destroy the personal files to preserve his image forever. She had, in fact, already begun the task, per instructions by Hoover himself in the event of his death. Now satisfied the task was complete, Tolson authorized release of his letter of resignation. The Hoover house was his and he promptly took up residency and remained there until his own death a few years later. He chose Congressional Cemetery as his burial place. It is nearly a forgotten place that is mainly used today by Capitol Hill inhabitants to exercise their dogs. However, he wanted to lie near J. Edgar and his burial plot is a dozen lots away.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2408
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Clyde Anderson Tolson (22 May 1900–14 Apr 1975), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2408, citing Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .