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Remembering Dennis Shook, who remained part of Muskego

Aug. 29, 2011

Muskego - A man who was president of his 1969 Muskego High School graduating class, married his high school sweetheart, moved away, but never got Muskego out of his heart died unexpectedly last week.

Dennis Shook spent most of his career as a newspaper reporter for various area publications, but most recently he was the voice of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in southeastern Wisconsin.

In his role as DOT spokesman, he let the public know about road projects and traffic issues affecting them.

Shook, 60, was found in his car in front of the Kenosha post office when he failed to come to work Friday. It was the last day before he was to take an extended leave of absence due to health problems, according to his brother, Alan Shook of the town of Genesse.

Forever tied to Muskego

Even though Dennis hadn't lived in the city since the early 1970s, "he had the love for Muskego," Alan said.

After studying at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he earned a degree in journalism, Dennis Shook married his high school sweetheart, Laura, who had grown up in Tess Corners, in 1976. The couple had two children, Julia and Dennis Jr.

Ever gregarious and fun-loving, Shook helped spearhead an all-class reunion for Muskego High School graduating classes from 1959 to 2009. The event was held in Veterans Park near the Muskego City Hall.

"He always thought it was important that the community try to stay together," Alan Shook said, noting that his brother also organized other get-togethers through the years - even getting sponsors and volunteers for them.

Well-connected

His love of people made Dennis one of the most connected people around, from the local to the state level, Alan said.

"Even people in Washington knew him," he said.

Though his work as a reporter took him away from Muskego, he revisited the community every week in his opinion column "Shaking up Muskego," which appeared in the Waukesha Freeman. It was a wide-ranging column from history to politics, Alan said.

A funeral was scheduled for Wednesday morning at Friedens Lutheran Church in Kenosha, where the family lived for many years.

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