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Full circle

High school sweethearts reconnect years after graduation

Created date

February 19th, 2018
Highland Springs’ residents Neill Howard and Noy Mobley on their wedding day in March 2007.

Neill Howard and Noy Mobley on their wedding day in March 2007.

Neill Howard and Noy Mobley’s love story dates back to the mid-1950s at Central High School, in San Angelo, Tex.

“Noy and I were high school sweethearts who went our separate ways after graduation,” says Neill, who eventually made his way to Odessa where he worked as a manufacturer’s representative. He married Judy, who passed away in February 2003.

Meanwhile, Noy moved to Plano with her husband Ray Mobley, who worked for Ross Perot. She lost her husband before Neill’s wife passed away.

“Our graduating class was very good about planning reunions every five years,” says Neill. “I was pretty faithful about attending those reunions. Noy didn’t come, but she kept in touch with mutual friends from high school.”

After Judy’s death, Neill began to feel the weight of living alone.

“I was in a 3,000-square-foot house, and all I used was the master bedroom, the master bath, and the refrigerator,” he says. “I told a friend that I wouldn’t mind seeing someone, but I didn’t want to go through the hassles of dating.”


Meanwhile, Noy learned of Judy’s passing from a high school classmate and sent Neill a note of condolence via email.

“I saw the email as soon as I got to work on Monday morning,” says Neill. “I pointed at the computer screen and told one of my friends, “That’s from one of the first girls I dated.”

Neill replied back right away and waited for a response—which didn’t come.

“Days went by with no word from Noy,” says Neill. “I wondered, ‘What is that gal doing, leaving me high and dry?’”

Unbeknownst to him, Noy sent the initial email and promptly got on a cruise ship for a getaway with her children. Eventually, she returned the email and the two made plans to meet.

“I used to visit the Dallas area to call on customers, so I planned to take her out to eat while I was in town,” says Neill. “I was worried that I might not recognize her after all those years, but I knew it was her as soon as she walked in the room.”

A few things had changed, however.

“Noy was a rancher’s daughter, and when she ordered a salad on that first date, I wondered where my meat-and-potatoes girl had gone,” says Neill with a grin.

The couple picked back up and married in March 2007.

Enjoying life’s adventures together

In 2017, Neill and Noy made another major life decision. They sold their Plano home and moved to Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas.

“We’ve made our bucket list,” says Noy. “Now that we don’t have to worry about the upkeep of a house, we can lock our door and go.”

After recent trips to Maui and Alaska, next up is a river cruise through Europe.

“We’re fortunate,” says Neill. “Who could have known we’d get this chance [so many] years after high school?”