Walking through Downtown Dallas in the spring brings warmth and a sense of pride in our community. Music plays through Main Street as friends and families fill the air with laughter. Walking down the sidewalk, hand in hand, is Ottis and Shelbia Bone.
Ottis and Shelbia don’t remember a time in their lives when they weren’t friends. They were both born and raised in Paulding County and were in the same 1st grade class at Dallas Elementary. They were friends all the way through school and both graduated from Paulding County High School eleven years later.
After graduation, Ottis joined the Marines and the couple lost touch. For the next 23 years, Shelbia worked at ING in Atlanta, missing being able to work in the community that she loved. Ottis worked for Seaboard Railroad after he got out of the military and in 1992, opened his own business – Ottis Bone Trucking.
Just one year later, Shelbia had the opportunity to come home and work for Paulding County’s Chamber of Commerce. She has worn every hat at the Chamber, but now, 29 years later, is the Director of Membership. Shelbia loves getting to help their members grow and prosper in her community and getting to make a difference.
After all those years, Ottis and Shelbia reconnected at their 40th class reunion. There was an immediate spark, and the two picked up right where they left off. Ottis likes to say that Shelbia finally caught him, but we all know it was the other way around!
The couple have been crazy in love and married for 7 years now. They have two daughters and two grandchildren who bring immense joy into their lives. The whole family worships together at Zion Baptist Church, where Shelbia has been her entire life. Ottis had plenty of friends there and felt like he was home the first time he came with Shelbia. Their church and their church family is their greatest blessing!
The Bones love going with their friends to Tennessee or West Virginia, riding their ATVs and enjoying the outdoors! Ottis, being the youngest of 3 boys by several years, fell in love with cars and classic rock back in the 60’s. He started buying everything from GTOs to Chevelles, Novas, and his favorite, ‘69 Camaros. To this day, he loves his 4 wheel drive trucks, two ‘69 Camaros and his ‘68 Nova.
It was so special to hear about the history of Dallas from the perspective of those who have watched it transform. Shelbia and Ottis recall a time when Downtown Dallas had everything you’d need – a haircut, a new pair of shoes, a bite to eat, or even ice! And as they stood in the Dallas of today, they were greeted and honked at and waved to by all of the people in their community who love and admire them.
Ottis and Shelbia are proud to call Dallas their home, with every bit of evolving and growing it has endured. God used Dallas to bring them back together after all those years, making them a family right when they needed it the most.