Rest in Eternal Peace Brother-In-Law & Fellow Shaler

Orville Welcoming Dennis

Inspiration for me has been challenging to come by over the last 10 days or so. Last Sunday night, we got the midnight call that none of us ever want to receive; my wife’s brother, Dennis, had been shot & killed at his residence. Initially we thought it was an accidental shooting, but police have since concluded that it was intentional and are treating it as a homicide. It is believed that Dennis had gone outside to take care of an Armadillo(s) that had tore up the front yard. He barely made it past the car port before the shots were fired.

Dennis, his wife and their 3 kids, had moved from New Jersey to the family farm near Converse, LA. They were eager to trade the highly taxed Jersey for the slower-paced Sabine Parish. Here their kids could run about and be country kids on the 300 acre farm. They quickly felt at home. Dennis quickly got busy working on the house that hadn’t seen TLC for a few years. They got a couple 4 wheelers. They planted an impressive garden. Put in a zip line. The farm was once again looking alive. The family was thrilled.

Obviously, this criminal took Dennis from us. Dennis was a great brother-in-law and made me feel welcome to the family from the beginning. His wit and humor kept us laughing. Dennis served as the family’s point person for leasing the land. Dennis joked that he was looking forward to becoming a “Sheikh” – Converse, Louisiana style. Dennis was a member of GoHaynesvilleShale.com and noted that, “Wow! Looks like the site is growing up.” Dennis was creative having worked in media with the Navy and then in the private sector; we were discussing ways of working together with GHS.

Since the shooting, something else has become quite clear. In addition to taking Dennis away from his wife, children and the rest of us, this murderer also took something else that will be very hard to recapture; the innocence of the family farm. The farm had become a place for respite. My wife and her siblings had spent many a summer with their grandparents on the farm. After the passing of their grandparents, the farm had remained a gathering place; a place to get away. I grew up in rural Indiana and I thought I knew what country was, but the Louisiana farm took it to a whole nother level.

Now, this family is left to deal with Dennis’ absence and a beloved farm that is now sullied by this act of needless violence. Please, if you have any information that might be of assistance, contact the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Department at (318) 256-9241.

The Sabine Index Story

The below pictures are in memory of Dennis. Perhaps they’ll give you some insight into the guy I knew. Dennis leaves behind a wife and 3 children (10, 10, & 4). Now rest in eternal peace with your Maker Dennis.

Dennis and His Wife, Celeste

Putting Together the Christmas Bike

Being Dennis

Avid Beach Bum

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Comment by Natch N3 on July 7, 2009 at 9:27am
I'm saddened to hear of your loss and that of your family. Our prayers are with your family as you try to find answers. May God comfort his wife and children and may his memory be kept alive each day.

Natch N3
Comment by Daryl on July 6, 2009 at 4:49pm
We all are so sorry to hear such sad news for a husband and father who seemed to being enjoying life with his family. May God watch over and comfort his family.
Comment by Sidekick on July 6, 2009 at 3:42pm
I have looked at this blog for the last couple of days and have really struggled to find the words to express how very sorry I am for your loss. No words seem appropriate.

Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers!!
Comment by Horseshoe Girl - a1 on July 6, 2009 at 10:42am
How truly sad, Keith. My heart goes out to you and your wife and all of your family people.
Comment by Zydeco on July 6, 2009 at 3:01am
THIS IS TRAGIC VERY SAD NEWS. THE NEED YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FACE IS GREAT, THE GRACE THAT IS YOURS IN GOD IS EVEN GREATER. MAY YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR FAITH STAY FIXED UPON HIM AS YOU GO THROUGH THIS DIFFICULTY. BE ASSURED THAT HE IS HOLDING EACH OF YOUR HANDS TOGETHER AND WILL NOT LET GO ! SO MANY MANY PRAYERS. ( IT IS TRUE THAT MANY OF US WILL GLADLY GIVE TO A REWARD FUND. IT WORKS PLEASE LET US HELP . YOU AND YOURS HAVE HELPED US IN COUNTLESS WAYS) "THE PRICE OF LOVE IS GRIEF AND I WILL TAKE LOVE EVERYTIME" GRETHEN JACKSON
Comment by Rosebud on July 5, 2009 at 8:57pm
In time, I believe the raw grief your family feels right now will heal, the hot, bitter tears will dry, and the unconsolable sorrow and anger will fade to some extent to be replaced by a lifetime of cherished memories; we all want those we'll someday leave behind to remember all the good times we shared. I have no idea where this verse originated but it has brought me comfort on several occasions.

"Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. I loved you so, 'twas Heaven here with you."
Comment by VSC DeSoto South on July 5, 2009 at 9:00am
Keith,

I send my prayers and condolences to you and your family.
May God keep you, hold you, guide and comfort you through your grief, pain and frustrations.
Remember your brother in law's, love, laughter and how many great times you shared.


Valerie
Comment by jbob5570 on July 4, 2009 at 10:24pm
Dennis and family are in my prayers.
Comment by Jim Spain on July 4, 2009 at 7:08pm
I am so sorry to hear of the death of your loved one. I too suffered the death of family members at the hands of another. My Mother, Father and Sister were killed in a car wreck caused by a 17 yr. old that fell asleep at the wheel. I know what you are going through as I have been there. I hope that the perpetrater is caught, prosectued and sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. You and your family will be in my prayers as you come to grips with this tragic event.
Comment by Dion Warr, CPL on July 4, 2009 at 10:55am
Keith:

I am so sorry to see and hear about your family's senseless loss. Obviously the killer was either surprised or confronted on land that was clearly not his own, or worse yet, lying in wait for his opportunity to commit this heinous crime. Based upon the story in the Index, locals would have had more than enough time to learn of the "policy shift" against wandering around and hunting on their homestead.

I cannot tell you how many landowners with which I have had relations (particularly in the last five to ten years) that have lamented about the amount of trespassing and poaching that have occurred and is continuing to occur on their land. For some set of unknown reasons there exists a subset of people who neither understand nor respect (1) the concept of private property, (2) the necessity to have the permission of the landowner BEFORE entering, and (3) that landowner's ability and right to REFUSE entry and DECLINE to grant permission to enter.

One guy that I leased a couple of years ago told me that he bought a 92-acre tract of land bordering his property 'as a buffer to keep trespassers and poachers from coming so close to his house'! Some of these idiots (some teenagers, some young men) were out on his land not only hunting, but running four-wheelers off-trail on his property with full knowledge that they were trespassing, but "they just wanted to". (!?!!)

Don't get me wrong; I have been guilty of using existing trails to go from landowner's property to another without necessarily talking to everyone first, and I have entered my neighbor's backyard without first knocking on his door to retrieve an errantly thrown ball or frisbee. But who would ever think that coming onto someone else's property or close to their home in the middle of the night, armed, unannounced and without permission could be defensible?

I hope they catch the killer. Soon.

More importantly, I pray for you and your family, and I hope that all of you are able to find the peace and solace in celebrating his life and his memory such that it may quickly overcome the pain and shock of his loss.

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