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Unexpected, unanticipated love

By Staff
NEWLYWEDS – Nola and Joe Skinner were married May 8 at Russell Baptist Church. Nola is 79 and Joe is 80. Nola said, "I think it was in God's plan for us to have each other." Photo by Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
May 23, 2004
Tammy Watkins said the news that her 80-year-old grandfather was getting married came as an enormous surprise.
The couple married on May 8 before their family and friends in a ceremony at Russell Baptist Church.
Nola and Joe, both set in their ways, said if someone told them a year ago that they would marry again they would not have believed it.
Longtime friends
Nola and Joe have known each other for 45 years and been neighbors in the small community of Russell for several of those years. At one time, Joe even worked with Nola's late husband.
Nola's husband, Robert, died six years ago, and Joe's wife of nearly 60 years, Dorothy, passed away in February 2002.
Both were adamant when they started dating that they would not get married.
Nola's church friend, Wilton Bennett, noticed that Nola was pondering the idea of marriage while on a trip in March to Natchez with the church's senior citizens group.
Bennett said Nola shared with him how much Joe had come to mean to her.
Supportive families
The couple's families were all very supportive of the marriage.
Nola said a lot of her friends joked with her about dating at her age. But once her friends found out that the two decided to marry they began to plan a big church wedding.
Nola said her friends and her daughter took over and planned the entire event complete with a three-tiered white and pink wedding cake and a chocolate groom's cake.
The couple spent their honeymoon in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and now reside in Russell.
Nola works part-time for Hallmark, stocking cards at Dollar General stores in Meridian. Joe also works part-time, delivering cars to auto dealerships in Meridian. The two love to travel and work in their yard.
They said this marriage is until "death do us part."