History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - People - Bios

Dennis K. Wesela


January 19, 1942
murdered December 26, 1980
Primary Involvements:

Factory bar


  circa 1979/ age 37, at The Pageant

Dennis K. Wesela was an extremely friendly and personable guy, with a wicked sense of humor. He was called "King" by family, serving as Best Man at his brother's wedding and Godfather to a nephew. At one time married and the father of two girls, Dennis also worked as a police office for 5 years prior to moving to Milwaukee.

Dennis was 38 years old when, working as a doorman/ bouncer at the Factory Bar, he was shot and killed by an irate patron. This was one of several closely spaced attacks on gay people, and together these attacks sparked unity and anti-violence campaigns by the gay community and forced awareness by civic leaders and the police.

Dennis was survived by his partner, John Rogge.


3 winners of Mr. Club Milwaukee contest:
from left to right: Dennis Wesela (3rd place), Gene Conti (2nd), John Diamond (winner), emcee Paul DeMarco

Bouncer shot 1980- Newspaper article

Bouncer shot 1980- Killer charged

Bouncer shot 1980- Obituary

Bouncer shot 1980- Eyewitness account

Bouncer shot 1980- GPU News- Violence

Bouncer shot 1980- GPU News- McCann meeting