Bob and Jeri Johnston at The Bob Shack.

Bob Johnston is retired now and living with wife, Jeri, at White Rock Court, but as they putter around town, popping into the grocery store or the doctor’s office or a neighborhood restaurant, they can count on one thing — someone is sure to approach and ask, “Hey, aren’t you The Voice of Lake Highlands?”

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In most cases, the person has never seen Bob, has never met him, has never heard his backstory, but when they hear his booming voice, it flips a switch of recognition. Sometimes they recall memories of their children competing at baseball games, track meets, football games or other athletic events. Sometimes they remember him announcing their own competitions decades ago.

Saturday afternoon, between the JV and varsity games, the Wildcat baseball team dedicated the red press box to Bob, and it will forever forward be known as The Bob Shack. A permanent metal sign was installed with his picture and name.

“I’m very proud and satisfied to know I must have done a good job. They kept me around here for more than 36 years,” said Bob after the ceremony. A proclamation from the City of Dallas was read in his honor.

“I started announcing baseball games even before football games,” Bob told me. “That was about 1984, and I began doing football in 1986.”

Bob admits he was never much of a baseball player — he had a year of Little League and a year of Pony League play as a kid — but like many men raised in Texas, he played lots of “pick up” ball around his neighborhood with friends and schoolmates. Watching Lake Highlands High School students play the game, though, that’s what really lights him up.

“I love seeing the kids develop and grow in the game,” he said. “I enjoy seeing them get bigger and better and do all the work they need to do to improve. I also love seeing the other teams, seeing how good our competition is.”

Jeri has a background teaching radio and television to high school students, and she spent many years helping Bob with the press box sound boards.

“He loves to say the players’ names, so the kids get to hear it and their moms get to hear it,” she said. “Looking back on our years together, one of our goals has been to encourage youth and let their names and their talents be seen by the public.”

The Johnstons know that some Wildcat players will go on to play baseball or football at colleges all over the United States. In fact, Bob and his two brothers, who attended the ceremony, played college football themselves. Most students, though, will be competing in their final games on the LHHS campus.

“That’s the way life is — you move on to the next thing. But we want them to be proud of this highlight moment.”

Bob prides himself on knowing the background of the players he is announcing, and he reminded me that he had announced for the fathers of two of the players in Saturday’s game.

Ben Jenkins is Shep’s dad, and Rick Marr is Camp’s father. It’s fun to watch the kids and the grandkids if you stick around long enough.”

Whether it’s athletics, dance, choir, theater, Scouts or all the other children’s activities represented in Lake Highlands, the Johnstons said they’ve learned one lesson over the years.

“Support your kids in all that they do, because the way they grow up is the way they’ll be as adults. If they learn to be proud of themselves, it’s a miracle,” Jeri said.