December 21, 2016 Edition

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Several former Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County residents and their children came together in an unplanned, unexpected way for a wedding in Little Rock. They are (from left): Dr. Ralph Joseph II, Elizabeth Joseph (Ralph's daughter), behind Elizabeth is Doug Yates (husband of Melissa Moore Yates), Harold "Radie" Moore (Melissa's father), Melissa Moore Yates, Danielle Pugh Yates, Samuel Yates (Melissa and Doug's son), Rev. Dr. Russ Snapp, Terry Moore (Melissa's oldest brother), Karen Moore (Terry's wife). Not pictured is Dr. Lin Moore, Melissa's sister, and Kakki Jones, makeup artist.
Submitted Photo ~ Kat Donovan Photography

LR wedding connects
former LawCo. friends

A Dec. 3 wedding in Little Rock brought together several native and former Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County residents in an unplanned, but happy, series of coincidences.

Melissa Moore Yates of Little Rock, mother of the groom, grew up in Lawrence County, and attended Walnut Ridge School, and her father, Harold Moore, taught history at WRHS. Her mother, the late Virginia Moore, taught English at Black Rock High School.

Samuel Yates, son of Melissa and Doug Yates, married Danielle Pugh, daughter of Ricky and Karen Pugh, all of Little Rock.

Here is the story, as shared by Melissa.

"Sam and Danielle got engaged and were looking for a church home. She is Catholic and Sam was raised in a non-denominational Bible church. They decided to select a church where they both felt comfortable and that would meet their needs. They chose Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, where Walnut Ridge native, the Rev. Cannon Dr. J. Russell Snapp serves on the staff as sub-dean. Snapp also baptized Sam on Nov. 6 of this year.

"I did not know that Russ was even living in Little Rock," Melissa exclaimed. "They did not know Russ but initially met with him to do marriage counseling. They then found out that Russ was from Walnut Ridge and that he knew me and my parents and grandparents."

Russ, a 1977 graduate of WRHS, was a grade behind Melissa in school. "I have lots of memories of Russ," she said. Russ' parents, Jimmy and Anne Snapp, were good friends of my parents, Harold "Radie" and Virginia Moore.

"Not only were our parents friends, but our grandparents, Royal and Beulah (Jackson) Moore and Russell and Grace Snapp, were best friends. Actually, the entire Snapp family was friends of the Moores, and my great-uncle Charlie Moore and Russ' great aunt, Elizabeth Snapp, were actually married to each other for a period of time," she added.

"Royal Moore, Russell Snapp, C.R. Snapp and my dad hunted and fished together often for many years, and when Russ' dad, Jimmy, got old enough, he went too. My oldest brother, Terry (who is in this photo), also hunted with our grandfather and the Snapps when he was a boy.

"And when I was growing up, I have great memories of fishing with Mr. Russell Snapp and my grandfather in the lake on the farm where my parents used to live in Black Rock.

"I also have memories of the Snapps and my grandfather, Royal Moore, playing a card game called Pitch at the Snapp Motor Company ... (Russ recalled, too, that his Snapp grandparents and Melissa's grandparents also traveled together, including trips to Florida and Los Angeles with Russ' father, Jimmy Snapp chauffeuring them to California. He said the two couples were "the best of friends.")

"Needless to say, we were all thrilled that Russ agreed to perform the ceremony for Sam and Danielle," Melissa said.

Other interesting

But there were some other interesting connections at the wedding. "Elizabeth Joseph is a good friend of Danielle's and was one of her bridesmaids. It was only after Sam and Danielle were engaged that I met Elizabeth and discovered that Dr. Ralph Joseph II, also a Walnut Ridge native, is her father."

Ralph was the same age as Melissa's brother, David Moore, and they were friends at Walnut Ridge High School. "I have memories from high school of Ralph and his brother, Bill, and being at the Josephs' house with my brother," Melissa continued.

However, Melissa's parents knew Dr. Ralph Joseph Sr. and his wife, Gay, a long time before. Right after Dr. Joseph Sr. graduated from medical school, he began his practice in Walnut Ridge.

"In 1949, my mom was pregnant with her second child, Lin. Dr. Joseph was the doctor who delivered my sister, Lin. My oldest brother, Terry, was also born in Walnut Ridge but prior to Dr. Joseph establishing his practice."

And I have one more interesting tidbit... "Months before the wedding, I engaged a woman to help me do my hair and makeup on the day of the wedding. A few days before the wedding, that woman had to cancel my appointment due to a death in her family," she explained.

"I scrambled to find someone who could help me on the wedding day. I had several close friends who highly recommended a woman named Kakki Jones as a very talented hair and makeup artist. They said she is always booked months in advance, so I probably could not get on her schedule. ... By some miracle, she was available on the morning of the wedding," Melissa said.

"She came to my house for my appointment, and we talked about the wedding. I told her that the priest who was performing the ceremony was from my hometown in Northeast Arkansas. She asked what town. Walnut Ridge. She said, 'Oh my gosh, I'm from Hoxie!'"

It turns out Kakki Jones is Cecile Lady Jones' daughter. Cecile is the older sister of the late Robin Lady, who was Melissa's friend and classmate in Walnut Ridge.

"Kakki definitely lived up to her reputation as a very talented makeup artist, and she did a fabulous job on me," Melissa added.

"It was a beautiful wedding! Russ performed an amazing ceremony and the fact that it was Russ marrying them made it even more special to all of us," Melissa said.

"And all of the Walnut Ridge connections made it lots of fun. Sometimes, what seems to be coincidence may not actually be a coincidence," Melissa said. "Some things are just meant to be. This wedding has rekindled old friendships and established new ones."

Russ agreed with Melissa. "It seemed a sign that things don't always happen by chance and that God had brought us together. ... I know our grandparents would have been extremely pleased."

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