JoAnn was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on 29 December 1925 to David and Helen Anderson, a printer at the Lincoln Star newspaper and an accomplished milliner, respectively. She was valedictorian of her high school class and attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with academic honors, while working full-time, for two years. She was an active member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.
JoAnn fortuitously met her future husband of 63 years, Reno Charles Pretti – a dashing, red-haired officer in the U.S. Air Force and a native of Glenwood Springs, Colorado – at a university dance through the amorous alchemy and agency of a beloved cousin, and later moved to Washington, DC to work for the Labor Department and be close to Reno, who was working on his doctorate in economics at Georgetown University. She is duly credited with the laborious task of flawlessly typing his ponderous and esoteric thesis.
JoAnn and Reno were married in Washington on 30 September 1950. They had three children: Anne, who currently lives in Norfolk, Virginia; Scott, a resident of Silt, Colorado; and, Anderson, of McLean, Virginia. After leaving Washington, JoAnn and Reno lived in Omaha, Nebraska and the Chicago, Illinois area where Reno held various executive positions with the Union Pacific Railroad. Notably, Reno led this august but ossified company (with a storied history of forging two disparate coasts to create the first transcontinental U.S. railroad) into a modern era of intermodal/ seamless transportation and sophisticated marketing. He was anointed the first vice president of marketing in 1968 after creating the department and elevating its strategic status within the company.
JoAnn and Reno later returned to a life of public service in the Washington area where Reno advised the federal government on the economic/ social impacts of railroad mergers and acquisitions. JoAnn lived in McLean, Virginia (suburban DC) at her home of 45 years until her death.
As a mesmerizing socialite engaged in various humanitarian causes and charities, JoAnn helped propel Reno’s career while pursuing her own inner muse. Her unabashed and unrelenting passion was duplicate bridge, and she played competitively - achieving the status of life master in the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) in 1983. In addition to playing in national tournaments, she competed in online tourneys with cerebral titans such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Omar Sharif. JoAnn was an enterprising ACBL-certified bridge teacher and coach and developed innovative bridge programs at local schools to cultivate interest, core competencies and social confidence among a broad/ diverse swath of students. She also launched and taught interactive bridge programs for adults at the McLean Community Center; the Grange and Olde School in Great Falls, Virginia; Trump National Golf Club at Lowes Island in Potomac Falls, Virginia; and other venues.
JoAnn apotheosized the word "stewardship" and empathically channeled her grace, humility, equipoise and coruscating energy toward the affirmation and self-actualization of others. She was profoundly loved by all and will be grievously missed.
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