Dennis is the father of Matthew Shepard and has been an advocate for parents’ unconditional love for their LGBT children both during Matt’s life and, very publicly, since the hate-motivated murder in Laramie, Wyoming, which took Matt’s life at age 21. Born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Dennis earned a degree in education from the University of Wyoming before marrying Judy in 1973 and settling in Casper, Wyoming to raise their family.
An oil industry safety specialist, Dennis worked for more than 16 years in safety operations for Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, before retiring from that position in 2009. He has served on the Matthew Shepard Foundation board of directors since the organization’s inception, and currently speaks to audiences around the country, particularly to victims’ advocacy organizations and law enforcement audiences about his experiences and the importance of equal treatment of LGBT crime victims and their loved ones. He and Judy continue to live and work in Casper.