These High School Sweethearts’ Marriage Spanned 60 Years

Jo Ann Ellison and James Robb became high school sweethearts after meeting during a dance lesson and got engaged before he left for the navy his senior year.

Photograph courtesy of James Robb Jr.

Jo Ann Ellison and James Robb met while taking dance lessons in high school. She went to Withrow and he attended Roger Bacon, and the sweethearts became engaged before James left his senior year to join the Navy. She wrote to him daily while he was deployed in Hawaii, and they were married during his leave on December 2, 1954, at St. George Parish and Newman Center in Clifton Heights. On their wedding day, Jo Ann’s mother hosted breakfast at her house, and James’s brother drove the couple around, singing and whistling “Teach Me Tonight” by the DeCastro Sisters. Jo Ann counts both among her fondest memories of the day—and, of course, the moment they said “I do.” The couple had two children and were married for 60 years until James died in 2014.

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