Thursday, January 18, 2018
Human Interest

From This Day: Couple meet at airport, but love takes off slowly


Back before security regulations required putting shoes, belts and watches into plastic bins at checkpoints, a young man from St. Petersburg accompanied his mother to a departure gate at Tampa International Airport. She was headed to a wedding in New York, the same wedding Shelby Burns and her parents, Bob and Sandy, were attending.

"I saw him, and I thought, 'This is going to be a fun wedding if he's going,' '' Shelby recalls.

Josh Newman was not headed to New York that day, but he and Shelby had a lot of friends in common. She graduated from Shorecrest Preparatory School; he's a St. Petersburg High School alum. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education from the University of Florida; Josh has a degree in finance from Florida State University.

"That's the one negative thing about my husband," Shelby Newman says now, somewhat in jest. "He went to Florida State."

Years later, Josh says, he visited a neighborhood restaurant — and saw Shelby. "She just lit up the room," he says. "We knew of each other, of course." He started a conversation.

"I remember saying to someone, 'I'm going to take her to the Keys, and then we're going to get married.' ''

Their first official date, she says, was "not that romantic." Josh had worked late, and the old Durango Steak House on Fourth Street N was open.

"Oh, goodness," says Shelby, 35, who teaches kindergarten at North Shore Elementary. "So long ago."

They were a couple off and on for most of the next decade.

"I definitely was not one of those girls who get married to get married," she says. "I think we both finally realized it was right. It was nine years in May when we got married."

"She's the love of my life," says Josh, now a 38-year-old underwriter for CitiMortgage. "We're definitely in love, and we're in it for the long haul."

The couple, whose home is in St. Petersburg's Old Northeast neighborhood, live near his parents, Sam and Lea Newman, as well as hers. They play tennis together (teaching the sport was Shelby's summer job for years), and they spend much of their time together with family and friends.

"It's the top of our priority list," she says. "It's not out of the ordinary for us to have dinner with his family on Friday evenings, and we have dinner with my family every Sunday night."

Their May 19 wedding, a black-tie occasion, took place in the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. There were cocktails in the garden, then a dinner reception in the Glass Conservatory at the museum, which recently was ranked among the Top 25 destinations for a wedding reception at

"We got married on the stage in the Marly Room," Shelby says. "I guess it was pretty fitting for my personality, because I used to do a lot of pageants and ballet."

Tables at the reception were named for artists: Josh's idea.

Earlier this month they took a belated honeymoon to California, flying into San Diego, driving the Pacific Coast Highway, visiting the Napa Valley, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

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