Dennis was born Feb. 28‚ 1946 in San Francisco‚ CA. He grew up in Pacifica‚ CA‚ graduating from Pacifica High School in 1965. As a teen‚ Dennis enjoyed racing with his dad and his brother Harold. Although duty called Dennis to serve with the Army in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968‚ he returned to take the California State Championship in Dirt Track Racing in 1969.
In the 1970’s‚ Dennis moved to Texas where he found work as a truck driver and where he met and married Susan Dewey. They raised 3 children together; Philip Simmons of Louisiana; and Harold Simmons and Brandie McKay of Missouri. He had six grandchildren: Jessica‚ Kris‚ Brandon‚ Ashley and Tre’ Simmons and Cale McKay. In addition‚ Dennis and Susan were known as Mom and Dad to many in their community. They opened their home and their hearts to anyone who needed a helping hand.
Dennis loved NASCAR racing. He shared this passion with his daughter. They went to as many races as they could‚ visiting a different track each year. Dennis also loved motorcycles and loved to take his Harley out and ‘get in the wind‚’ taking spur of the moment trips with his wife. Because of his service in Vietnam and his love for motorcycles‚ Dennis felt a strong commitment to the Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club where he worked for 17 years with his fellow club brothers to help carry on the search for those MIA. He held many offices while in the club but the most important thing to him was the brotherhood.
Because of his racing experience‚ Dennis loved old cars and was a crackerjack mechanic. He often amazed his sons by diagnosing a problem over the phone without having to see or hear the car run.
Dennis and Susan moved to Kansas in 1987. Dennis was appointed to the Radium City Council in 2001‚ serving until his death. He fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter by volunteering with the Stafford County Fire Department for 7 years. At the time of his death‚ he was the acting Radium Fire Chief. He was dedicated to his responsibilities and spent many hours making sure the equipment and trucks were ready to roll.
On April 21‚ 2009‚ while returning home from a field fire‚ Dennis suffered a fatal heart attack. His family takes comfort in the fact that he died doing what he loved. Dennis is sorely missed by his family and friends. The extent of his impact on people’s lives was revealed at his funeral as one person after another took turns telling their stories about Dennis and how he had touched their lives.