Fort Worth

Husband cared for ailing wife until they were found dead in their home, friend says

Doug and Kathy Kirk at a friend’s wedding in 1991. The Kirks were found dead Jan. 18 at their Fort Worth home in what police called a murder-suicide.
Doug and Kathy Kirk at a friend’s wedding in 1991. The Kirks were found dead Jan. 18 at their Fort Worth home in what police called a murder-suicide.

Kathy Kirk battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for months.

And right there with her was Doug Kirk, who accompanied his wife to the appointments with doctors and occasionally to the local hospital when the cancer was at its worst.

The couple’s longtime friend, Lisa Zimmerli of Slidell, La., knew the Kirks had struggles with Kathy Kirk’s health, but the couple never gave hints of despair.

“They were very close,” Zimmerli said Sunday in a telephone interview.

Zimmerli remained in shock Sunday, days after her good friends were found dead in their northeast Fort Worth home in what police called a murder-suicide.

Kathy Kirk, 55, died from gunshot wounds to her chest and her death was ruled a homicide, according to officials with the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Her 58-year-old husband suffered a gunshot wound to his head and his death was a suicide, the medical examiner’s office said.

They left a note which was found on the morning of Jan. 18 on a neighbor’s vehicle.

It said they were going to kill themselves and it left instructions on where to find a key.

Within minutes, shortly after 8:30 a.m. Jan. 18, police responded to a call at the couple’s home in the 5300 block of Lily Drive in northeast Fort Worth.

When they entered the home, officers found Kathy Kirk on the living room couch with a gunshot wound in her chest. Doug Kirk also was in the living room.

Police did not release a motive for the murder-suicide.

Zimmerli last talked to Kathy Kirk in September. The two had met at Towson State in Maryland in 1984 and had remained friends.

“She sounded good, but tired,” Zimmerli said.

The Kirks’ friend received a voice mail from Doug Kirk in November as he waited at a hospital where he had taken his wife.

“His voice sounded calm and collected,” Zimmerli said. “And he sounded kind of frustrated because he was still trying to find a job.”

Zimmerli said Doug Kirk had worked as a computer programer. The Kirks married soon after college in 1987 and had no children.

“I know they had a small financial problem at one time, but they never struck me as a couple who would end their lives this way,” Zimmerli said. “It was like I was standing on a rug and someone pulled it out from under me.”

Zimmerli said she was still trying to sort everything out.

“I considered her my sister for a great many years,” Zimmerli said. “During these circumstances, we all try to understand the whys.”

Helpline

For help and information, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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