Dennis Ficken

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Dennis Joseph Ficken
20 Jan 1948 - 06 Nov 1988

Clubs & Associations

Foggy City Squares
Western Star Dancers

Quick Facts

  • founding member of [{Western Star Dancers]]
  • attended the 1983 fly-in in Miami at which the IAGSDC was founded [1]


Roger Perry and Dennis Ficken were lovers/partners. Dennis owned a flower shop — he loved orchids — in the Portero Hill District of San Francisco. Like Ron Douglas and I and Agnes Smith, we were all dancing with Skip Barrett but very unhappy with the “scene". We had clandestine meetings at the bar at the Hotel Utah, just a few doors down 4th street from the Trocadero Transfer, to vent our frustrations and decide what to do ... which led to our determination to start a new alternative square dance club. We faced numerous operational challenges including a space to dance, securing sound equipment, getting records, square dance instruction booklets, how to format the evening and teach, and more. But we worked as a team and pulled it all together to open “Western Star Dancers” on Friday March 5, 1982. Roger and Dennis were an integral part of those early days. But before long things took a dire turn.

I talked to Ron today and here is what we remember: Dennis was increasingly taking more and more serious drugs. And this most likely played a significant part in the loss of the flower shop, their house, and their being a couple. As mentioned below, Roger left for Florida within a year us starting WSD. We never really heard from him when he was in Florida. In pre-email and pre-cell phone days, it was much more difficult to stay in touch. We don’t know that Roger ever square danced again, or joined the Mustangs, although we believe that he did go to the Crossfire. We never really heard from him again. Dennis, sad to say, had became homeless, ending up living surreptitiously in our basement. But with continuing troubles including knives, stolen shoes and more, our upstairs housemate forced the issue and we asked Dennis to vacate the basement. That was the last contact we ever had with him.
Scott [2]

Roger Perry and Dennis Ficken
God bless you two for all you did in the early days to get Gay Square Dancing and Western Star Dancers off the ground!
You got off the ride too early and missed one hell of a time. Peace.
Scott [3]

Memorial Panel



  1. Torres, Luis, compiler. Ten Years IAGSDC: A Collection of Pages From Our Memory Book, 1993, p.19
  2. Email, 18 Mar 2023
  3. Email, 19 Mar 2023