Elderly BYU fan still attends games, buys extra ticket for wife who passed away

Posted at 10:01 PM, Sep 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-30 00:01:41-04

PROVO, Utah -- He’s an 87-year-old man and, perhaps, one of the biggest Brigham Young University fans out there.

He’s gone to nearly every single BYU football and basketball game, and when his wife was alive, she went with him. And although she passed away 16 years ago, you could say his wife still goes with him to these games.

“I met my wife the first day of college,” said Keith Fillmore, who attended BYU in the '40s. “I came back from the Army, and there she was, Ms. South Carolina: beautiful.”

As Student Body President, Fillmore attended all of the football and basketball games then, and he still goes now.

“I just have been involved in BYU all my life,” he said.

Fillmore and his wife Marceen (he calls her Ceenie and Sweetheart) attended hundreds of BYU games in their 67 years of marriage. Though Ceenie passed away 16 years ago, Fillmore still buys his wife a ticket to BYU’s football and basketball games – her empty seat right next to his.

We asked Fillmore why he continues to spend the money on a ticket for his wife.

“I think it’s called love,” he said in reply. “Maybe it’s love, my sweet companion which is true, and also it’s to support a cause I believe in.”

Fillmore said he doesn’t always keep the seat empty.

He said: “Once I was at a basketball game and had my ticket for her too, and some gentleman said, ‘Who sits here?’ I said, ‘My sweetheart’ and he said, ‘Where she at?’ I said, ‘She’s in paradise.’ He said, ‘Well, can I sit there?’ I always carry her picture, and I said, ‘Let me ask her’ and I took out the picture. I said, ‘Sure you can!’”

Without fail, Fillmore walked eagerly to his seat at LaVell Edwards Stadium for BYU’s game against Middle Tennessee State. For those who regularly sit by him, they said Fillmore’s as much of an attraction as the game.

“I come to see him one more year,” Jeff Gustin said. “Every year leading up to this I’m thinking, ‘What happened to Mr. Fillmore? Is he gonna be there?’ and he comes smiling up the stairs, so it’s gonna be a good game.”

We asked Fillmore if he loves his wife the same way he loves BYU basketball and football, and Fillmore answered, “Oh yes, I think we’re synonymous.”

Call it love and call it tradition for the life-long BYU fan who said, “I don’t expect to win all the games, but I do expect us to honor our traditions.”

Fillmore had six tickets to BYU’s football games at one point, but he said as he gets older it’s harder for him to attend. He said he plans on going to as many games as he can and will always have a ticket for his sweetheart.

Fillmore has three children (two have passed away), eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He tells FOX 13 he puts silk flowers on his wife’s grave and changes them out every couple of months.