Quincy native Stella Katherine Hodges (known as Katie to her friends) was at Burger King when she was introduced to Walter Henry Jones III (known as Trey) through a mutual friend.
It was the summer of 1977, and Trey was visiting his grandparents, who were owners of a local fruit market in Quincy.
Trey said he “thought she was the prettiest girl in the world.”
It was a friendship in the making and who could have foreseen what the future might hold for them?
That was a summer to remember for Katie…but Trey’s father was in the military and he followed in his footsteps, serving in the United States Air Force and then the Army, where he acquired a full scholarship to study engineering at Florida State University.
His military career kept him on tour in Asia for several years before retirement.
Meanwhile, Katie had attended college at Auburn University and then South Florida. She also put herself through barber school and was a hairstylist for 10 years before she picked up real estate as her full-time career.
The two lost touch over time, until 10 years ago, when Trey sent Katie a friend request on Facebook with a message asking to reconnect.
Katie gave it some thought, responded, and their friendship from years ago was quickly rekindled.
Last summer, 43 years after their initial meeting, fate transpired and love sparked for the two like fireworks at a celebration.
In November of 2020, the two traveled to take a tour of Daytona where Trey spontaneously proposed to Katie with his mother’s ring. The couple would call the special moment something that turned into a very memorable and sentimental lifetime memory.
Of course, Katie said yes, and the couple were married only a few months later during a sweet, intimate wedding at the Melbourne Courthouse on February 22, 2021.
The next stop was the Havana Spring Resort for a little honeymoon retreat back in Gadsden County (where everything started) and a small reception at the Havana Country Club to share their happiness with friends and family.
Now happily married and living a true love story, Major Trey Jones, a retired United States veteran of 27 years, works for the L3Harris Corporation as an electrical engineer.
Katie continues her career as a realtor of 24 years.
Trey has two grown children and Katie has a grown daughter, both from previous marriages. Combining their families has been a blessing and they even have grandchildren now!
“I’m over the moon for that man,” said Katie.
Later this week, the couple will celebrate Trey’s 60th birthday celebration in Melbourne, Florida – where they now live – and they will have another wedding reception for more family who were unable to attend the original ceremony.
They are a true American power couple with an amazing success story.
By Patricia Smith