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Dorothy "Dot" Fillmore Zetko
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Dorothy "Dot" Fillmore Zetko

Jan 3, 1937 Sep 24, 2023

Dorothy May Fillmore Zetko

I was born in Midway, Utah on January 3rd, 1937, to Neva May Wall Fillmore and Ronald Franklin Fillmore. Most people knew me as Dot Fillmore, and later in life Dot Zetko. I was the second of six children. I marched to my own drumbeat, much to the chagrin of my parents and siblings. I spent my youth living in poverty, but my parents made sure we always had a home and necessities. My mother pushed me toward the Church, but I rebelled in the usual teenage manner. I wore a skirt to school, but off it would come to be traded in for a pair of jeans as soon as I was off the school bus. I also taught the Young Men’s group when I was a teenager. I taught them how to smoke a cigar and swear like a sailor. I liked the shock and awe I received for my unladylike behavior.

I spent part of my childhood working the sheep camps in the mountains during the summer and breaking young horses so I could live my dreams of riding into the sunset cowgirl style. I grew up loving the outdoors, nature, and all that it had to offer. I loved animals of all types, often doing spider-removal missions and relocation for my youngest daughter. I was told I was a talented painter and I sold many of my paintings. I did not once paint on a canvas though, preferring old saw blades, milk cans and whatever other odd things I would find to paint on. I usually painted a piece of art to give away as a gift. I loved to cook and created masterpieces for meals. When I set a meal or dessert on the table, it was usually concluded with me saying “I hope this doesn’t taste like crap,” though I secretly knew everyone would love my food and want more. I was also a talented seamstress and crafter. I crocheted oodles of afghans and baby clothes for family and friends. I loved flowers, though I did not have a green thumb.

The day after I graduated from high school, I hit the road! I joined a travelling sales crew selling magazines door-to-door. I travelled to every state that year, except for three. Twice I spent a night in jail, once for selling without a license and another time for speeding. Back in the mid-fifties that was considered blasphemous for a woman to spend the night in a jail. While travelling with the magazine crew I met a man who I didn’t even like. He somehow convinced me to marry him, which I did so my mother would get off my back about not being married. I was nineteen then.

We lived in Texas, Kansas, Salt Lake City, and eventually relocated to San Diego. We ended up there because Frank Zetko, my husband, could not read a map and wouldn’t ask for directions on how to get to L.A., which was where his job interview was. I had two daughters, Tracy in 1968 and Dawn in 1971. Everything I did after having them was done with their wellbeing and happiness in mind. After 22 years of marriage. I eventually got up the courage to divorce Frank and began a lifetime as a hard-working single mother during a time when single mothers were gossiped about and shut out of social circles. We enjoyed camping, hiking, and playing games. I was a Brownie Troop leader for several years before my divorce, which

forced me to work six or seven days a week. That didn’t stop me! I plowed straight ahead, breaking down barriers and busting my butt to provide for my daughters, with no help from their father.

I started working at Taco Bell, which was where I met the love of my life, Jim Seely. We were the type of couple everyone would dream of becoming. I later worked as a realtor and was named one of the top sales agents in San Diego County time and time again. My cluttered desk was overflowing with awards and trophies, to the dismay of my broker at the office. I lost the original Jim to a serious accident in 1981, caused by a brain injury, which caused a lifetime of pain and a new person for my partner to emerge. I took care of Jim until March of 2023, when we were separated due to the advanced dementia that took over my body and mind and stole the last few years of my life. We never married. I was against marriage due to my bad marriage to my daughters’ father. But we spent the rest of our years together and remained friends. I gained two beautiful new “stepdaughters” and three wonderful grandchildren from my life with Jim. I also gained two grandchildren from my daughter Dawn. Jim, my four daughters and my grandchildren meant the world to me before the dementia destroyed my mind.

During my lifetime I loved and was owned by many pets. All but two of my darling kitties preceded me in my passing. I missed my Mustangs, cats, and dog that beat me to Heaven . My daughters also provided me with dozens upon dozens of grand-fur and feather babies. I miss them, but I am now with all the ones I lost again. I have also rejoined my brothers David and Vern Fillmore, as well as two of my sisters, Barbara Ritchie and Betty Durrant, my parents and so many friends. I am survived by my sister, Phyllis Gray, and my daughters Tracy Zetko-White, Dawn Zetko-Phebus, Denise Nolta and Jamee Gallardo, my soul-mate Jim Seely and grandchildren Rachel Richardson, Gabriel Franson, Corey Nolta, Gianna Hale and Thalie Rodriguez, four great-grandchildren and my two sweet kitties, Bobo and Trouble.

Those who want to see me off are invited to a memorial service at my house in Heber on October 24th, 2023, from 2-5pm. No tears for me please, only good, happy memories are allowed at my going-away party, though I know some of you will break that rule. If you want to send flowers, that is fine. If you wish to do something for me, please consider a donation to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary or adopt a kitty or dog off the street. I hope to see you there!

Dot’s family wishes to thank our friends and neighbors who helped out in the later years, as well as the Hospice workers and all of the staff at The Peaks at Clinton Memory Care Center for everything they did.

Personal Information

Midway, UT US
Cause of Death
Clinton, UT US
Real Estate
High School
Wasatch High

Life Story Info

Dawn Zetko-Phebus
Post Date
Oct 2, 2023
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