Thomas Stockton was born July 6, 1921 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Bertha (Gantvoort) Stockton and Eric Stockton. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University (1942) and a Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan (1950), both for the study of Mechanical Engineering. He served briefly in the United States Army (1946). He married Barbara (Johnston) Stockton in 1952, with whom he had five children. His career was spent mostly at Ford Motor Company (1950-1987), where he worked on automatic transmission and gas turbine design, receiving numerous patents (approx. 65). Before his employment at Ford Motor Company, Stockton worked with the Wright Aeronautical Corp. as a Liaison Engineer on Wright R-2600 and R-3350 aircraft engines (1943-1945), Kett Tool Co. as a Design/Development Engineer on small electric power tools (1945-1946), and Procter & Gamble as a Design/Development Engineer on food processing machinery (1947-1949). After his retirement from Ford in 1987, he became a free-lance engineering consultant, continuing his work relationship with Ford including within the Ford Alpha division (1993-1995) and FFD-USA (1995-1996), as well as working with many other engineering companies (GKN, Advanced Power Technology, Henry Ford Museum Adult Education Program, etc.).
Outside of his work as the manager of Powertrain and Driveline Research at Ford, Stockton was very active as a member of the Early Engine Club, an organization which he helped to found, which was focused on the history of antique steam engines. He also taught a popular course on Steam power for the North American Model Engineering Society. Stockton died July 10, 2012 at the age of 91.