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Love Story: She took a chance on him in spite of seeing his photograph

Joe and Kathleen Falco of Amityville on a

Joe and Kathleen Falco of Amityville on a date at the beach in 2017. The couple met through an online dating site and were married in June 2018. Photo Credit: Falco Family

Kathleen Falco of Amityville recalls the day she met her husband, Joe.

In March 2017, after being divorced for 20 years, I was finally ready to take a chance and look for a soul mate. I was Kathleen Rodecker at the time; my maiden name was Hanifan. I lived in Mastic.

I tried many dating sites but the gentlemen I met were not a match. We never went beyond the initial meeting. Then I tried Zoosk, which seemed to have more listings of people living on Long Island.

One man I contacted was a widower named Joe Falco. Joe had recently lost his wife.

We decided to exchange photos. The first photo Joe sent looked like a mug shot from jail. He sent a second photo that was even worse! We talked on the phone, and he asked to meet me the next day for coffee. I agreed to go even though I really didn’t think it would go anywhere.

We met at Panera Bread in Bohemia. I took precautions before the meeting, looking up the location of the nearest police station in case this stranger decided to follow me home.

The photos Joe had sent to me didn’t do him justice. He was so cute, and he had the greatest smile. He was also such a good listener. We were both 67 years old. He had grown up in Wantagh and I had grown up in Hicksville.

Joe and I hit it off right away. The day after we met, however, I left for a two-week vacation in Maine. While I was away, Joe and I spoke on the phone and texted every day. We got to know each other during that time and became closer.

When I returned home we began dating. We saw each other every weekend.

My family met Joe and welcomed him. I have two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren plus a large extended family that includes my seven siblings and their families. Joe, who doesn’t have children, took over the role of “Papa Joe” to my grandkids.

We started falling in love. It wasn’t long before I sold my home and moved in with Joe in Amityville.

We both felt marriage wasn’t necessary for us, but one day we spoke about growing old and wanting to share the good and bad as husband and wife. On March 3, 2018, Joe asked me to be his wife … and I said “yes!”

Our wedding was on June 9, 2018, at my older son’s home. We spent a weekend honeymoon at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. We went to see the Broadway show “Jersey Boys” and took a carriage ride through Central Park.

At our wedding, my family gave us baseball caps, one numbered “5” and the other “82.” A Hanifan family tradition is to assign your numerical order in the family when you are born or when you join the family through marriage. I am No. 5 and Joe is No. 82 in the four generations of Hanifans. Now that’s a family!

I retired in January as a clerk typist with the Suffolk County Clerk's Office in Riverhead after 13 years. Joe is an auto technician and has owned J & D Automotive Services, a repair shop in North Bellmore, since 1976.

We both love the ocean and treasure time we spend at the beach. Our anniversary was last week. Joe and I had dinner at Blackstone’s in Melville then attended my granddaughter’s dance recital.

Joe is the sweetest, kindest man I’ve ever met. He will do anything for me and he always tells me, “The best part of today is being with you.”

— With Virginia Dunleavy

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at newsday.com/lilovestory — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to Love Story, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4250; or email dunleavy@newsday.com, or call Virginia Dunleavy at 631-843-2923. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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