Man who killed wife, himself fought depression , friends say — (Houston Chronicle)

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Houston Chronicle

Tuesday, AUGUST 28, 1990

Author: Staff

WOODBRANCH VILLAGE – A retired meat-market owner who killed his wife before turning a pistol on himself was prone to bouts of depression, his friends said Monday.

But Gus Roesler said his next-door neighbor, Harold F. Gates, 77, seemed to be in good spirits when the two friends last talked at length.

Roesler was at a loss to explain why Gates shot his wife, 74-year-old Della Gates, Sunday before firing a fatal bullet into his own head in the couple’s home in southeast Montgomery County.

“I saw him last week and he never said anything was wrong. Everything seemed real normal,” said Roesler.

Roesler found the bodies Sunday morning, shortly after Harold Gates called him and urged him to “come right quick.”

Sheriff’s investigators found notes from Gates saying he was not afraid to die.

The evidence at the scene, the couple’s history of ill health and the urgent call to Roesler pointed to an apparent murder -suicide, authorities said.

The couple had numerous health problems, authorities said. Harold Gates had an artificial left leg and was on medication for depression and Mrs. Gates struggled with cancer years ago.

Still, the couple frequented community centers where they played dominoes and bingo.

Roesler recalled that Gates was depressed when he summoned him for help another time about six months ago.

“He called me and was crying. I went over and he was deeply depressed. So I took him riding around,” Roesler said.

Services for the couple were pending at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Cleveland.

Record Number: 08*28*725487
Copyright 1990 Houston Chronicle