Beacon mourns passing of beloved, charitable 'Pink Unicorn'
The streets of downtown Beacon will never be the same.
A pink symbol of kindness in Beacon was laid to rest earlier this month, prompting numerous tributes throughout the city. It included posts in the library and children's drawings hanging in store windows.
David R. Shelly became a local sensation in 2021 when he started wearing a pink unicorn costume and doing good deeds every weekend in Beacon.
A neighbor gave him the costume to thank him for shoveling the sidewalk in front of her downtown home.
Shelly passed away on Dec. 15 after a short, but brave, battle with brain cancer.
He was 66.
"I still can't believe that he's gone," Beacon resident Diaham Semple said.
She recalled a time when she was in the midst of a terrible day, and came across Shelly who offered her a hug.
"In that moment, I thought, 'Where in the world could I get a hug from a pink unicorn and it make me feel better?" Only in Beacon," she said before tearing up. "I'm getting emotional because I really do miss you, Dave. I really do."
At Scarborough Fare, Donna Wirthmann's shop on Main Street, her grandchildren's drawings of the pink unicorn hang on the front door.
"He has made such an impression on me and my grandchildren, anybody who has come in contact with him," Wirthmann said, "especially when he would walk the streets of Beacon on weekends and just be kind."
At her home, Shelly's wife Jill Quaglino sorted through the numerous gifts people have sent the couple as thank yous, and as encouragement during their recent battle.
One is a tiny knitted version of the pink unicorn.
Another resembles a pinata.
Quaglino said the community fell in love with David Shelly for some of the same reasons she did: personality, humanity and kindess for no reason other than to be kind.
"[He'd] hand out these cards that would get you a free ice cream. He's given away gift cards. His goal was to bring joy to people in whatever way he could, both in the unicorn suit and not in the unicorn suit."
Jill Quaglino plans to start a charity in 2024, called The Unicorn Foundation.
The foundation will provide financial assistance to lower-income Beacon-families, and other good deeds.