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Donald Green's stepson Jerry Barker spreads Green's and Green's dog's ashes, at the backyard of Green's old home in Freeport during a celebration of life, on Dec. 16, 2023.

“I don’t wish this on anyone”: Two families mourn their losses after a record year for Texas heat deaths

More than 300 Texans died from heat in 2023, the most since the state began tracking such deaths in 1989.

Heat killed Texans of all ages

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“Just a very caring person”

June Barker Green speaks with other loved ones after Donald Green's ashes have been spread into the Brazos River at a celebration of life in Freeport, on Dec. 16, 2023.
Jerry Barker, right, and his daughter Kat Barker survey Donald Green's old home while attending Green's celebration of life next-door, in Freeport, on Dec. 16, 2023. Green died while running an errand at the bank in September.

Tragedy in the driveway

Donald Green's daughter Sherrie Lovejoy, granddaughter TKTK, stepgranddaughter Kat Barker, and stepson Jerry Barker listen as Green's celebration of life begins, at a home in Freeport, on Dec. 16, 2023.
Attendees of Donald Green's celebration of life listen as loved ones share stories of Green's life, at a home in Freeport, on Dec. 16, 2023.
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The death of a postal worker

Carla Gates at her home in Lancaster on Dev. 21, 2023. Her husband, Eugene Gates, died while on his USPS route in June of 2023. Gates was a USPS mail carrier for over 30 years and loved the people on his route, Carla said.

“A slap on the face”

Left: Carla Gates holds Eugene's water cooler, which he would fill with drinks and ice for work. Right: Gates shows Eugene's U.S. Postal Service uniform, the same one he wore when he collapsed and died while delivering mail in June 2023.

A beautiful day

Family and loved ones of Donald Green gather at a backyard during Green's celebration of life in Freeport, on Dec. 16, 2023.

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