Tour­na­ment hon­ors slain golfer’s mem­ory

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Rachel Rice rrice@ac­n­news­pa­

Four months af­ter the killings of Dale Guthrie and Su­san Gulla-O’Leary as they stood in their front yard in the Lake Travis area, Guthrie’s fam­ily is com­ing to­gether to raise schol­ar­ship money and com­mem­o­rate his mem­ory by way of his fore­most pas­sion — golf.

It’s still hard for Tammy Par­nell to talk about her brother, Dale, who was six years older and of­ten was her pro­tec­tor grow­ing up. Po­lice say Guthrie and Gulla-O’Leary, who lived in the Lake Travis area for more than a decade, were shot by Lake­way res­i­dent Ran­dall Bur­rows, a man they’d hired to do some main­te­nance work at their home. Of­fi­cials say Bur­rows killed him­self days later af­ter a stand­off with po­lice in Mis­sis­sippi.

Guthrie’s death has rocked the fam­ily and ev­ery­one who knew the cou­ple. Guthrie had four chil­dren.

“He was very charis­matic,” Par­nell said. “He had the big­gest, most en­gag­ing smile there ever was.”

Par­nell’s hus­band, Jeff, came up with a way to honor Guthrie — a golf tour­na­ment that would raise money for a schol­ar­ship for a high school golfer, one who makes good grades. The Dale Guthrie Me­mo­rial Golf Tour­na­ment will be Sun­day at the Fal­con­head Golf Course in Bee Cave, where Guthrie was a mem­ber for years.

“We’ve got a lot of kids in­volved in this tragic sit­u­a­tion we’re in,” Jeff Par­nell said. “We needed to do some­thing that brought our fam­ily to­gether as a way to heal . ... We could have writ­ten a big check and funded the schol­ar­ship, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about the labor of love of putting this to­gether.”

Guthrie’s par­ents did, in fact, pay for a schol­ar­ship for a high school golfer at the close of the last school year. The Dale Guthrie Me­mo­rial Golf Tour­na­ment will raise money for next year’s schol­ar­ship — maybe sev­eral, Tammy Par­nell said.

When she talks about the plan­ning process for the tour­na­ment, she lights up with ex­cite­ment.

“I think he would feel so ab­so­lutely hon­ored that this is tak­ing place for him,” Tammy Par­nell said. “And to have his le­gacy re­mem­bered through golf — I feel him smil­ing on me.”

The fam­ily started or­ga­niz­ing the event about three months ago, and they have auc­tion items, do­na­tions and peo­ple sign­ing up for tour­na­ment teams. Guthrie came to know many golfers, some of whom will be at­tend­ing the event along with his im­me­di­ate and ex­tended fam­ily. Guthrie also passed his love of golf on to his now 15-yearold son Car­son.

“(Guthrie) was a very highly skilled am­a­teur,” said golfer Dy­lan Davis. “He had an in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the golf swing and the game of golf that was un­com­mon. So you can tell that his son, Car­son, has the same in­tan­gi­ble grasp of the golf swing. It’s neat to see that trait in­her­ited in Car­son.”

Dale’s younger brother, Greg Guthrie, is also help­ing to or­ga­nize the event.

“It’s some­thing (Dale) would love to be in­volved in,” Greg Guthrie said of the tour­na­ment.

“Any­thing to help the kids and get them into sports. He al­ways felt that golf was such a good way to keep kids out of trou­ble . ... We’re try­ing to do some­thing pos­i­tive out of this, to keep his mem­ory around.”

Dale Guthrie

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