Born in Baltimore in 1918, Tolson attended Baltimore City College High School and earned three varsity letters in lacrosse. The 1936 City College team completed an undefeated season and won the Maryland Scholastic Championship. Tolson was chosen to the All-Maryland Scholastic first team at point. City College repeated as champion in 1937, and once again Tolson was a first team All-Maryland selection.
In the fall of 1937, Tolson enrolled at Johns Hopkins University and won a varsity letter in his freshman year while also being selected on the 1938 All-American third team at first defense. After the 1938 season he never again played in a losing game at Homewood Field. As a sophomore in 1939, he was selected to the All-America first team. In 1940, Hopkins was defeated in only one game, losing 7-6 to Maryland for the national championship. For the second time, Tolson was selected to the All-America first team at defense. He was also chosen for the first North-South game in June, 1940.
Tolson was captain during the 1941 season, which was one of Hopkins greatest. An undefeated national championship season climaxed by a post season game with Mt. Washington, which Hopkins won 7-6. Tolson was a first team All-American for the third consecutive year on defense, and Father Bill Schmeisser named him to the All-Time Hopkins Team. He was chosen for the second time for the North-South Game.
After graduation in 1941, Tolson entered the Navy, and was commissioned an ensign. He served four years and was a lieutenant when released to inactive duty. While in the Navy he served in the Caribbean and as U.S. Liaison Officer to the Royal Dutch Navy. After the war he played with the Mt. Washington Club for the 1946 and 1947 seasons. In 1971, he was chosen to the Lacrosse Honor Roll of the Mt. Washington Club.
Tolson was inducted into the US Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1999, he was selected to Lacrosse Magazine's All-Century Team. Tolson was employed by Koppers Company from 1946 to 1951 as staff assistant to the general manager. He left Koppers and joined Bendix Corporation in 1951 as a project coordinator.