I Remember Harriet Deison

Reflections on the life and tragic death of the wife of TE Peter Deison

It has been said, time and time again, that suicide is the only sin God can’t forgive, that if you are dead you can’t ask forgiveness, but now I know my Lord and Savior is bigger than that. There are so many things we will never quite understand but, in heaven, we will finally know. I know Harriet Deison will be there.

[Editor’s note: Harriett Deison was the wife of PCA Teaching Elder Peter Deison, Associate Pastor of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. He also served as an Assistant Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., for 10 years.]

I had big plans for an “Auld Lang Syne” story today but, no, in a cruel twist of fate we are staggered to learn that beautiful Harriet Deison, who charmed all of our hearts when her husband Pete served as a longtime assistant pastor at First Presbyterian Church, died on Saturday in Dallas. At first the details were sketchy. Now they are not.

According to Dallas police, Harriet walked into a gun store in some strip mall of what is called “Far East Dallas” on Saturday afternoon and bought a firearm. Moments later, a single shot from the parking lot was heard by store employees. When the first police responders arrived about 2:15 p.m., the pretty 65-year-old was found dead, slumped in her automobile.

Police believe that she died of a self-inflicted wound from the gun she had just purchased. The reason I tell this story is because my extended family loved the Deison family very much. For years we worshipped with them, we dined with them, we laughed with them and, yes, we have cried with them when sometimes life seemed to go awry. What great Christians! What fabulous Children of God!

For literally decades Harriet and Pete propped us up, assuring us that by God’s grace a New Dawn was coming – as unstoppable as the New Year itself – and that if only we would place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ things would take a better turn. So help me, that promise has never failed me. (Oh, sometimes God doesn’t show up the moment you call Him but, brother, He’s always right on time!)

Further, as Pete has dedicated his entire life to the counsel and comfort of fellow strugglers, quite often he called on Harriet for her tender help, to which she always responded in such a loving and gentle way that neither anguish or incident stood a chance. Now this … oh my goodness, now this.

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