John and Lecia Williams. Photography by Owen Jones.

Lecia Sauve knew John Williams was “the one” on their first date after a family dinner at his house.

“He got up and cleaned his plate and went over and hugged and kissed his mom and said ‘Thank you,’’’ she says. “And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is awesome.’”

The LHHS ’73 graduates met in first grade, but did not start getting to know each other until their senior year. They bonded while working together at NorthPark. Lecia worked in sales and John worked as a janitor.

“He would come by a lot to clean up my area,” Lecia says, emphasizing “a lot.”

Lecia and John both lived on Estate Lane in high school. With his instrument attached to him, John would walk about a mile every day to her house to walk her to school.

“It was a lot of walking, but I wanted to be with her,” he says. “I couldn’t believe that she would be seen with a band weenie carrying his band instrument.”

But Lecia did not see him as a band weenie. She admired his musical talents. One of Lecia’s favorite memories at LHHS was watching John direct the stage band and perform at an assembly.

“He played a Chicago solo on his trombone, and I was just undone,” she says.

The couple dated through college when she attended Texas Tech University and he went to the University of Texas. By the end of college, John knew he wanted to marry Lecia based on her captivating personality and strong faith.

“She’s definitely the one,” he says. “I couldn’t see spending really any other time with anybody else.”

Lecia and John tied the knot in 1977 and had three children. The Williams family lived in Virginia when the kids were elementary-aged, but came back to Lake Highlands when the oldest was 16. All children graduated from LHHS and were involved in musical theater, the Wranglers and choir.

“It was just really idyllic, I think, being back in Lake Highlands,” Lecia says. “We had both had such great experiences growing up here.”

John says it is not uncommon for them to venture out into the community and still see people he and Lecia knew growing up.

“It feels like the town we grew up in,” John says. “It feels like home,” Lecia responded.