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Beautiful music together
Community pillars T.K. and Louise Adams celebrate 50 years
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As a high school student in Waycross, Louise Adams would often help her friends with homework after school. Like any teenagers, schoolwork sometimes came second to chatting and giggling.

"One day one them said, ‘there’s a boy in the band that likes you,’" said Louise. "They said it was Timothy Adams, and I didn’t even know who he was."

T.K. (Timothy) had spotted Louise during band class when he played saxophone and she played clarinet, but Louise’s grandmother made her choose either band or chorus and she loved singing more.

While the couple doesn’t recall the details of their first date — either a basketball game or football game — they know that once they became an item Louise never missed one of T.K.’s band performances. To this day Louise has only missed one performance because their son Timothy Jr. was sick.

After playing in the marching band after football games, Louise would walk T.K. to work at a train station where he sold coffee to passengers. He would buy her a sandwich at the end of his shift and then walk her home.

T.K. went to earn a degree at Morris Brown College while Louise finished her senior year and then attended Clark College. It was the being apart that made T.K. realize they needed to be together.

"It was Christmas morning and we were home from school and I went to her house to have breakfast," T.K. said. "I carried my little ring in my pocket."

When he popped the question, T.K. said she laughed a bit before saying yes – all the while her step-grandfather, delighted, praised the Lord.

Louise majored in education and minored in home economics. In one of her minor courses she designed and sewed her wedding dress – a stunning white A-line with lace sleeves.

She told T.K. once he found a job, they could set a date for the wedding. He did better; he found jobs for both of them.

As a senior at Morris Brown, the principal at R.L. Cousins School (elementary and high school) came to one of his classes looking for a school band director. T.K. expressed interest and the position was offered to him. Before he accepted he asked if there might be a position for Louise too.

"I told him we come as a package," T.K. said. It just so happened there was an opening for a fourth grade teacher.

T.K. and Louise were married at 8 in the evening Aug. 14, 1959 by the president of Morris Brown College. They borrowed an aunt’s car for a one-night honeymoon at Jekyll Island. While walking along the beach there they recognized a man fishing. It was the band director at Clark College. The couple chatted with him a while and told them they were bound for R.L. Cousins.

"He told me, ‘don’t be a band director, be a teacher," said T.K.

After about a month, the message he was given on his honeymoon finally hit home.

"A band director is in it for himself, a teacher is there for the boys and girls," T.K. said.

In 1961, their son was born. Throughout the years Louise worked her way into school administration while T.K. continued conducting at Cousins, sometimes recruiting band members out of her fourth grade classes. In 1993, T.K. founded the Newton County Community Band. The couple retired together, as they do everything in life, in 1995.

Louise joined the board of directors at Washington Street Community Center and organized the first summer and afterschool programs. She currently trains new tutors, coordinates the afterschool program and selects the materials for it. T.K. is one step behind her every time she enters the building.

They have been honored as a couple for their civic efforts with prestigious county awards such as the R.O. Arnold Award and the I Have a Dream Award.

Big decisions, such as when to retire or where to commit their volunteer spirit, are always made as a family, T.K. said. Ever since becoming engaged, the couple mapped out the next 10 years of their life together.

T.K.’s secret to a lasting marriage is to do fun things together every week.

"You court when you’re single," he said, "so why wouldn’t you do it when you’re married."

Louise’s advice is a bit more philosophical.

"To me, one of the best things is to not change each other’s personality," she said, "and we’ve trusted decisions the other has made and we respect each other."

Although both confess they are different in many ways, they both share a desire to give back to the community that has been so good to them.

"I’ve told everyone I’ll be the richest man in town when I leave here," said T.K., "not with money, but with the lives we’ve touched."