Texas Pastor's Wife Kills Herself in Gun Store Parking Lot

Harriet Daison and Pete Deison
Harriet and Pete Deison (Carole McBride)

A Dallas pastor's wife shot herself to death this weekend in the parking lot of the gun store where she had just purchased a pistol.

Police said Harriet Deison, 65, wife of Pastor Pete Deison, was found Saturday inside her Lexus sedan after people inside of McClelland Gun Shop in East Dallas heard two shots and called 911 at around 2:15 p.m.

Although no note was found, the Dallas County medical examiner's office ruled the death a suicide.

Columnist Roy Exum, a friend of the Deison family, wrote in The Chattanoogan that Harriet “charmed all of our hearts” and “exemplified her life into a role model that hundreds of women have followed.”

“I believe she could do anything from arranging flowers to running a big company in Dallas, both of which she did adroitly,” he said.

In addition to serving Park Cities Presbyterian Church as the pastor's wife, Deison also ran Minwood One Corp., which is categorized under the collection agencies industry.

Deison's obituary said she married Pete, the “love of her life,” in 1968, and the two shared 43 years of ministry.

“She partnered with him in every way,” it said. “Harriet often said, 'When you look into the face of a flower, you see the love of our Creator, God.'”

Though friends and reports said she appeared to be living a fulfilling life, the obituary hinted at hardships she faced. “Harriet's gift of compassion and empathy caused her to feel deeply for others in pain. She struggled with her own pains and was able to use what she learned to comfort others.”

According to The Dallas Morning News, Dallas police Sgt. Shelley Johnston said police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will investigate to determine whether legal procedures were followed preceding the purchase of the gun.

Andrew Young, ATF spokesman, said these types of incidents can occur even when gun stores follow the law.

“This kind of thing happens, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s really hard on the dealers when someone buys a gun and takes their life with the gun in the parking lot.”

Deison is survived by her husband, two children and five grandchildren.

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