Hightower was the son of Robert Gregory and Mattie Price Hightower of Little Oak in Pike County. He attended Birmingham-Southern College where he worked as an assistant librarian, serves as president of the Epworth League, and music director for the YMCA. He was part of a three-man debating team that defeated a rival group from England's Oxford University. He completed his bachelor's degree in 1929.
He served the United Methodist Church's North Alabama Conference, Memphis Conference and Louisville Conference from 1927 until his retirement in May 1976. His longest tenure was 17 years with St Paul United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He married Ivan Jo Williams and had two children, Ruth and Ted Jr.
While serving in western Jefferson County in 1940, Hightower admonished the Fairfield City Council to take action against police officers involved in the beating and shooting death of O. D. Henderson, a TCI worker arrested for knocking a white man to the ground.
Hightower also served in various leadership positions in the Methodist church and wrote a book in 1957 entitled The Gospel According to Jesus, which was published by Fleming H. Revell of Westwood, New Jersey.
Hightower was widowed in 1981 and remarried late in life. He died in 1985 and was survived by his second wife, Margaret as well as his two children, six grandsons and two great-grandsons.
- "'Handcuff Murder' Of Jailed Man Had Been 'Whitewashed'" (May 25, 1940) Pittsburgh Courier
- "Ted Hightower, retired Methodist minister, dies." (August 26, 1985) Daily News. Bowling Green, Kentucky. p. 2