TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — As the Travis County Sheriff’s Office enters the final stages of its investigation into a double murder, friends and family of Dale Guthrie came together to honor him and his girlfriend of 11 years, Susan Gulla-O’Leary. The couple was shot back in March. Proceeds from Sunday’s Dale Guthrie Memorial Golf Tournament will be put toward a scholarship fund for a Lake Travis High School senior golfer.
The family says it’s a way for them to move forward and heal, while enjoying the game that brought Guthrie joy.
Every time Kenneth Guthrie steps up to the tee, he says he thinks of the things his dad taught him as a kid.
“It’s not that feeling of missing him. It’s like he’s here telling me what to do. And, I don’t know, it just kind of makes it fun,” he said, running through what his dad would tell him.
“Widen my stance,” Kenneth said, smiling, adding his dad’s the kind of guy who would coach, “Every day of his life.”
Even now, those lessons he passed on continue. Just ask Guthrie’s father, Bobby, who held onto a note his son wrote him easily 20 years ago about, well, how to play golf.
“I don’t know nothing about golf, and he said I’ll write you down — you play just like I’m telling you and you’ll do alright,” Bobby reminisced, thinking about his son’s advice before playing golf on a work trip. “And I done alright.”
And that’s what his family is trying to do. Be alright. The tournament, surrounded by friends and loved ones, he says was a big step.
“We’re honoring him today with the golf tournament, which we feel this will bring a lot more closure to our situation that we’re involved in. And we’re, we’re working very hard to get to that point,” Bobby said. “This crowd that’s came together showed their support so greatly, that it just made it wonderful for this family.”
Guthrie’s sister, Tammy Parnell, welcomed the memories from her brother’s past.
“They’re just sharing stories. You know, and it just makes it — it’s very healing,” she said. Pointing to a picture, she went on to say, “That’s Dale. That smile, that charismatic person. What you see right there is what he was.”
Many stories involved Guthrie’s passion of the game he passed down to his children.
“You can never be too upset about any shots or anything but you can also be happy about the good ones. Because you know that he’s seeing everything that’s happening,” Carson Guthrie, who is on the Lake Travis High School varsity golf team said. “It’s fun, it’s a fun thing to feel.”
The feeling that this dad is watching over him.
After Sunday’s tournament, people were asked to write messages to loved ones they’ve lost on balloons before releasing them together.
Organizers told KXAN last week that they expected 17 teams for the golf tournament, but 32 teams showed up to play.Background on the shooting
The shooting happened on the evening of March 15 on Whitebead Trail, not far from the intersection of Ranch Road 620 and Hudson Bend Road. Deputies with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office found the two in the front yard, dead from gunshot wounds to the head. Another woman was also injured, but survived.
The suspect in the fatal shooting was identified as Randall Lee Burrows, 54, of Lakeway. Deputies said Burrows left the scene in a 2011 white Ford Escape. Two days after the couple was killed, Burrows died after leading police on a chase in Pike County, Miss. Law enforcement said Burrows shot himself in a field just outside of the town of Summit.
Burrows, a contractor, was in a business dispute with the victims, investigators told KXAN in March. “This dispute was over the job done or not done to the satisfaction — and the amount of money that was paid or not paid in reference to the work,” Capt. Craig Smith of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said.