Thomas Grace was born on October 3, 1938, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1960 and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1963.
Upon graduation, he joined the Lewis Research Center of National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) in Cleveland as an aerospace technologist. In 1965, he joined The Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton as assistant professor and research fellow. He served as chair of the engineering department of the faculty from 1970 to 1974 and was professor and senior research associate from 1976 to 1989. Mr. Grace held an adjunct professorship at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, from 1989 until 1994 and then became a part-time professor from January 1995 through June 1997. After that, he became an emeritus professor at IPST. In 1998, he became an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto. He continues to serve in that capacity. In 1988, he formed T M. Grace Company in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Mr. Grace helped bring science to the field of chemical recovery technology, especially helping to put black liquor combustion in recovery boilers on a rational scientific basis. He led the development of the chemical recovery group at The Institute of Paper Chemistry to a level of excellence, and he developed and taught the course on chemical recovery technology, the first course of this type in the world. He demythologized the recovery boiler explosion experience, bringing focus to the most critical issues dealing with safety.
He is an associate editor of the Journal of Pulp and Paper Science. He is a member of TAPPI and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is also a member of the American Paper Institute recovery boiler committee and was secretary of the subcommittee on waste streams in recovery boilers.
Mr. Grace received the AIChE Forest Products Division Award in 1984; the TAPPI Engineering Division Beloit Award in 1991; and was named a TAPPI Fellow in 1987. In 2001, he received the Gunnar Nicholson TAPPI Gold Medal.
He is the author of 71 publications and the author of seven book chapters and reports dealing with the recovery process and related subjects.
Mr. Grace and his wife, Mary, have three daughters, Misty; Michelle; and Mara; and six grandchildren.