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February 13, 2018 • Headline News
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Love is in the air for Joneses
“Do not go through life being lonely. Don’t be afraid to get out there - be happy and don’t look back.” NORMA AND STEPHEN JONES

Wanda English Burnett

Norma and Stephen Jones are living proof that true love comes more than once in a lifetime and age is no barrier. The couple went to elementary school at Holton together and graduated in the same class – the first year Holton consolidated with South Ripley. They were classmates, but nothing romantic.
“I knew who he was and he knew me, but we never dated,” Norma shared. Upon graduation Norma married her high school sweetheart and settled into life in North Vernon. She had two boys, worked in a State job and life was good.

Norma and Stephen JonesSUBMITTED PHOTO
Norma and Stephen Jones smile from their balcony after they were married on January 1, 2018 in Sedona, Arizona. They say their love story is a “God” thing and are looking forward to the next chapter in their lives.

Flash forward to 2016: Norma faced the loss of her husband to cancer. It was tragic and she mourned her loss of a wonderful husband and father. She is a progressive lady who has embraced technology and enjoyed spending time and putting pictures on Facebook. Pictures, friends, places were all part of her life through the world of Facebook.

Stephen Jones, 66 enjoyed life as a boy growing up in the small town of Holton and attending the school there. He knew Norma, but didn’t have any romantic feelings. “Just a classmate,” he noted. Stephen had one marriage that ended in divorce after 12 years. He then met and married a lady he spent 28 years loving. He has two daughters and a son and step- children to boot! He worked as a mail carrier for the federal government his entire career and retired early. “I was fortunate to be able to retire early,” he noted. But in 2016, his life would drastically change. His loving wife of 28 years passed away from cancer. “I was devastated. I just sat around and my kids were starting to worry about me,” he noted. Stephen came to the conclusion that he was very lonely and wanted companionship. He was living close to Cincinnati, but decided to begin the search for classmates and people he knew from his days at Holton school. “I saw his name, but thought, no, that’s probably not him,” Norma recalled. Then she saw his smile. “I couldn’t deny it. I knew that smile,” she said as she looked at him.

The two met and the rest is history. They found out their spouses had died within three weeks of each other. They also found out they had many other similarities as they visited long distance, as Norma was still living in North Vernon. Then they took long rides and talked. The more they talked, the more they realized they were meant to be with each other at this time in their lives.

“It doesn’t take away anything we had with our first marriages,” Norma explained. “It was just time for us to move on.” And, move on they did. The couple dated briefly and then Stephen asked her to go on a trip to Sedona, Arizona, with him. Norma didn’t know he had purchased a beautiful ring they had looked at months before, but he had arranged everything right down to the minister.

Stephen took Norma to a beautiful destination and with ring in hand, asked for her to be his lifelong partner – however many years that will be. She wasn’t at all surprised and said, “yes”. More surprises were in store for Norma. He had arranged a minister to perform the ceremony and with everything proper they exchanged vows they wrote and were pronounced man and wife. “It was so beautiful and romantic at this bed and breakfast we stayed at,” Norma recalled of the warm day – 70 degrees – on January 1, 2018. What a way to start their new year – together! They have the good fortune to have children and step-children who embraced each of them. “I think my children are really glad I have someone,” Stephen noted. Norma seconded the notion. She said her boys didn’t want her to be alone. The love the two share is so evident, the children knew it was meant to be.

What do they do to fill their days after retirement? Stephen has a part time job, but mostly devotes his time to reminiscing and talking with his wife, Norma. He said they get up each morning thankful for another day, have a cup of coffee and if it’s real cold, he builds a fire in the fireplace. “We share a lot of the same memories from our school days and have much to talk about,” Stephen said. “Our history is the same.”

Somedays they take a ride in their new red convertible mustang. And, even pack a picnic lunch. They both enjoy wildlife, which is abundant on their acreage just west of Cincinnati. “But, I can be at Kohls in just eight minutes,” laughed Norma. She loves the location –country, yet close to convenience.
Their advice for others? Stephen says, “Do not go through life being lonely.” Norma agreed and said, “Don’t be afraid to get out there – be happy and don’t look back”. She said some places people can connect is of course Facebook, church and senior centers. “Step out of your routine,” Stephen advised.
“We are so fortunate and blessed,” they said in a combined sentence.

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