Wife of USPS worker who died on the job awaiting autopsy results

We're still waiting to learn a postal worker's cause of death after he collapsed on the job while delivering mail in extreme heat in Dallas.

Eugene Gates' wife says he always came prepared for the heat, bringing water, a cooler, tea and juice with him on the job. She says he always brought dedication to his work, oftentimes coming in early.

His wife says the response so far from the U.S. Postal Service doesn't match her husband's level of dedication.

Carla Gates now lives at her Lancaster home alone. She’s still waiting for answers from USPS and also from the medical examiner’s office. 

66-year-old Eugene went to work Tuesday morning to complete his normal route out of the USPS Lakewood branch in Dallas. It’s a job his wife says he was dedicated to for nearly 40 years. 

Carla says she got a call just after 4 p.m. Tuesday saying her husband had been rushed to the hospital where he later died.

Tuesday afternoon, Eugene collapsed in a front yard, and the homeowner came outside to perform CPR. 

Gates died during one of the hottest days of the season with heat index values soaring above 110 degrees.

USPS isn’t confirming at this time if Gates died of a heat-related illness, only offering a statement of condolences to FOX 4. 

The Gates family is still waiting for the cause of death to be released. That could happen as soon as Friday.

Eugene leaves behind his wife, two children and multiple grandchildren.

Carla says she’s been trying to get in contact with HR at the postal service for two days now but is getting the runaround. 


Dallas USPS worker dies after passing out during excessive heat

While on his normal route going door to door during Tuesday’s extreme heat, the 66-year-old collapsed in a front yard, and the homeowner came outside to perform CPR. He later died at the hospital.

Carla says her husband didn’t have any glaring health problems.  She says he would always take a pack of coolers with ice-cold water, tea and juice on hot days. 

"His regular medical appointments. He went on a regular basis. My god, he walks eight miles a day. Eight miles a day. Mail to 400 homes," he said. "For someone to walk eight miles a day. I did this many steps. I did this many steps. He did it for 36-38 years. He knew how to prepare for the weather.

Carla says her husband was extremely dedicated and loved his job.

"When I say dedicated, my husband would get up at 330 a.m., eat his breakfast and get to work two hours early. He would sit in his car and wait until his shift started," she said. "He has always done that because he loved what he did."

Carla still has the last text Eugene sent her.

"He said, ‘It’s 7:30, and it’s 88 degrees. Be safe when you go out.’ That was my last text from him," she said. "No person, I do not wish this on anyone. The postal service needs to change the way they are handling this mail system in the heat. I’m not saying not deliver mail. Maybe when the heat is extreme like Tuesday, maybe deliver mail at different times. Maybe start two or three hours early at the crack of dawn. Or stay later, you know?"

After our interview, the union for letter carriers showed up to Carla’s home. It would not comment on whether Tuesday’s heat may have been a factor. 

The union said prior to Eugene’s death, they pushed carriers’ start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Now after his death, they are changing the start time back to 7:30 a.m. 

Carla says she is visiting the funeral home Friday to start planning and is hoping for the autopsy results.