How they met: Nighttime Halloween stroll led couple to each other -
Published Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 1:00 am / Updated at 4:22 pm
How they met: Nighttime Halloween stroll led couple to each other

On a Halloween night during World War II, three young women strolled down an Omaha street.

They spotted three young Air Force officers walking behind them, and the whole group ended up dancing together at the Music Box.

For Jo Janecek and Dan Tosoni, that night in 1944 was the beginning of a relationship that has stretched more than six decades.

As they spun around the dance floor, they laughed and talked about their lives.

Jo was 19, grew up in Omaha and was working at an insurance office. Dan was 21, and was from California. He was an Air Force lieutenant who served as a bombardier on B-24s, and was stationed at a base in Lincoln.

Jo thought Dan looked handsome in his uniform, and he liked her thick, curly dark hair.

The three women and three officers decided to meet again the next night. The guys were suppose to take the bus from Lincoln and meet the girls at the depot in Omaha, but the men never showed up.

The girls finally left the depot and were eating at a hotel restaurant in downtown Omaha when they happened to see the three officers walk by. All of them had dinner together that evening.

Jo and Dan clicked, and began dating. Over the next two months, Dan rode the train from Lincoln to Omaha a couple of times a week to take Jo to movies and out to dinner.

He loved going to her parents’ home and eating kolaches and other good Czech food.

On Christmas Day, less than two months after they met, Dan proposed. Jo told him yes, and the couple planned to take the train to California so she could meet his parents.

But Jo’s dad wouldn’t let her take such a big trip with Dan unless they were married.

So less than three months after they met, they took care of that. Their wedding was Jan. 13, 1945, at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Omaha. They didn’t have the time or money for a big wedding, so the only people who attended were her parents and two brothers, and the best man and maid of honor.

After the wedding, they traveled to California so Jo could finally meet Dan’s parents. They lived for a while at Air Force bases in Idaho and California.

Dan then served nine months overseas, while Jo lived with her parents in Omaha. Their first child was born while Dan was away.

He came home in June 1946 and will never forget the joy of holding his new baby for the first time.

The couple built a home in Omaha’s Benson neighborhood, and ended up having four boys: Dan, Jim, Tom and Jerry. They now have 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, with one on the way.

Next week, they will celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary, and Dan said his marriage to Jo has been his greatest blessing.

“The good Lord took care of me,’’ he said.

Contact the writer: Michael O'Connor    |   402-444-1122    |  

Michael is a general assignment reporter for the Living section, covering a mix of topics including human interest stories.

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