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Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Tollie Caution graduated from Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania before receiving a Master of Divinity from the Philadelphia Divinity School. He was ordained a deacon in 1929 and a priest the following year. Before his appointment to Executive Council in 1945, he served as vicar and rector of parishes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. Caution was president of the New York Clericus from 1965 to 1968. Upon his retirement in 1968, Caution served as consultant to the Presiding Bishop on pastoral affairs until 1970. He was instituted as Canon Emeritus of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York in 1976.