Though his father had hoped that Tom would be able to attend college as he had as a young adult. Unfortunately preliminary state testing had determined as early as freshman year that Tom did not possess the academic acumen needed to be accepted. By mid-century higher education in America had become so competitive, costly, under appreciated, and under resourced. The state university only took a handful of the most "gifted" students each year. Therefore, most secondary school students across the country were deemed to be better suited for farming to serve as a "caretaker" generation.
Although his father felt that he had been cheated by the education system, Tom decided to make the best of what learning he could attain. He excelled in farming studies, taking an Advanced Agriculture course in his junior year. However he had trouble in science based courses such as Plant Pathology (which was knowledge that could have found a solution to the Blight) and had to repeat it in his junior year as well. He finished second in the local school's class. It was at this point he officially took over the Cooper Family Farm.
Around the time he graduated high school he met his future wife Lois. After marrying and establishing their life as farmers, they had their first child Jesse. However, their son would later die due to health problems associated with the Blight and Dust Bowl. The couple was devastated, but did have a second child nicknamed "Coop". Tom was further upset by the death of his grandfather, and assumed a more aggressive defense of his immediate family.
Life only got harder for Tom and his family. He had grown somewhat distant from Murph, who had since left the farm to live in the relative comfort of NASA. He had lost one third of his corn crops to the Blight by the harvest. Persistent in his livelihood, he acquired his neighbor's farm after the original owners had given up and migrated. At this point, the only food available to the citizens of the Great Plains was pure corn based products, and that too was diminishing in supply. Dust storms had become more common in the region as well.
Tom was stubborn with his sister Murph, when she told him that his wife and son were dying from respiratory illness brought on by the dust storms. He refused to leave the farm despite his family's poor health, in part due to his ties to the place and his promise to his father that he would take care of the farm. When Murph burnt a section of his crop to distract him while she rescued his family to cure them, he returned to the farm where Murph exclaimed that she had found their father and that she could save the world.
In the novelization of the film, it is established that when Cooper appears on Cooper Station, Tom had "passed almost two decades ago." (pg. 271)
Tom is featured as one of the two children of Cooper and almost completely identical as the version portrayed in the final film.
It is likely that Tom never left his farm, even after the unveiling of the space station habitats to take mankind off Earth in stages, and even after Murphy and her family had departed. He and other faithful farmers stayed as "caretakers" for the last humans to leave the planet, unimpressed with the "useless machines" that would redefine civilization. Tom's death in his eighties was likely peaceful. Though it is entirely likely that he may have indulged his sister and for the sake of his family joined the rest of humanity in space.