When former Salt Lake Police Chief Dewey Fillis, a life-long sports enthusiast, retired in 1977, his ambition was to play golf as often as possible.
Fillis, 67, has managed to play a lot of golf in the past 11 years, but, he says, his goal has changed. "Now all I want to do is beat my wife at the game. Just once, I'd like to turn in a better score than she does."Fillis' wife, Marge, 66, who retired as a supervisor at the Utah Department of Social Services in 1984 after 29 years, took up golf in her late 20s, went from novice to champion in a year and, until she retired from competition in 1958, won practically every golf championship in Utah and several regional contests.
The Fillises have three married children, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild and enjoy visiting with their family. In the past few years, they have traveled to California several times to visit their daughter and her family, and have visited the Caribbean, Canada and Mt. Rushmore.
A year and a half ago, Snow College in Ephraim awarded Fillis its Distinguished Alumni Award. Both Fillis and his wife are graduates of Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant and have been be given Distinguished Alumni Awards from that institution.
Retirement has given them both opportunities to do things they have wanted to do for years. Fillis says he is working on a book about his 30 years as a policeman and Marge Fillis says she is thinking about putting some of her experiences as a policeman's wife, a social service worker and a star athlete on paper.
The only cloud over their retirement has been ill health. Fillis underwent open heart surgery in 1982 and had a quadruple bypass. A year later he was back in the hospital for another heart operation. His wife had open heart surgery that same year, 1983, and had a single bypass.
She says she feels great now and is full of energy. Fillis is not so happy with his recovery and says he doesn't have as much energy as he would like to have, "but I'm getting better all the time, so I look forward to being my old self again someday."
The Fillises were married in 1941 after which Dewey spent four years in the Marine Corps. When he returned to Salt Lake in 1945, he took a test for a position in Salt Lake Police Department. He passed and in 1947 was among the few hired from a group of 350 applicants.
One of his first assignments was driving dignitaries, who were attending a governors' conference, around the city. These included Thomas E. Dewey, Earl Warren and the president of Puerto Rico.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1956. In 1957 he was made a lieutenant and put in charge of the Sugarhouse subdivision. A year later he was made a field commander.
A promotion to captain came in 1961, followed by his becoming assistant chief in 1966. He was named chief of police in 1970 and served in that capacity for four years. He then served as assistant chief again under Earl Jones for a two-and-a-half year period, before being made made chief of police again in 1974. He remained in that position until he retired in 1977.
Fillis remembers firing his sidearm only once during his career - to shoot out a tire of a car in which a felon was fleeing. "That stopped the car, but the guy got out and came at me. He was considerably bigger than I was and I pointed my gun at him and told him to stop.
"He didn't. He kept coming at me. I jammed my gun back into my holster and waited until he got up close and then I hit him hard and knocked him down and it was over."
Fillis said, when he looks back at some of his experiences as a policeman, "I wonder how I came out of some of those times with a whole skin. Looking back, it's lucky I wasn't shot or killed a dozen times or more. Probably a lot of policemen could say the same thing."