The DotOUT Steering Committee is filled with shock and sadness over the tragic death of Travis Mitchell, Co-Vice-President and long-time DotOUT member. We stand with Travis’ loving and supportive family to commemorate his life this Wednesday, January 23rd.
Additionally, DotOUT will honor him and his legacy at our annual meeting in April. Further details around an honor fund will be planned and disseminated in the upcoming weeks in collaboration with his family, loved ones and many friends.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
12:00 – 4:00
Visitation and Viewing
Waterman Langone Funeral Home
580 Commercial Street
Boston, MA 02109
Drinks, Food, & Memories
Top Catch at Joe’s Waterfront
100 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS
In his leadership position as a board member of DotOut and through other activities, Travis was an active, engaged member of the LGBT and greater Boston communities. Based on intimate conversations, we know that Travis would appreciate that flowers not be sent. Instead, he would be pleased that donations be made in his name to support the valuable LGBT grassroots work of Dot Out:
Mail: c/o Mark Haley
42 Plympton Street
Boston, MA 02118
If you prefer, Travis’s friends in the Boston community have set up a GoFundMe account that you are welcome to contribute to:
Travis Mitchell and his journey with DotOUTAs remembered by Chris McCoy, DotOUT President
Travis came to us in 2010 when one of our local sponsors, recommended Travis and his husband Chris get involved with DotOUT and come on board our parade float, wearing sponsor t-shirts that we created. It was an intense year as it was the first year, we opted to enter both Dorchester Day and the Boston Pride Parades and host more social and political forums than any other. That year, Travis only had to ride on board and help with some building details but when there was a torrential rain during the parade, the sound system crashed, and Travis stood with us to protect our float pieces to be used at the upcoming fundraiser, while his t-shirt “melted” in an inky mess. Travis never complained and worked with us to deconstruct despite the continued rain. Many other volunteers left to seek shelter but not Travis.
In the years to come, Travis’ experience in the hospitality and restaurant industry, enabled us to host some of the most newsworthy political forums and local fundraisers. However, it was his completely untapped float building capacity, that allowed us to transform tow trucks and amphibious vehicles into magical and bigger than life “dream works.” When we embarked on the Price Is Right Float, one of our most indulgent endeavors, we discussed the theme-based props, but never imagined the level of preparatory work that Travis took on to create one of our largest props ever, a working “showdown” wheel with hand painted detailing. It would be the float of a decade, a dynamic and living game show that would translate into one of our most successful Tea Dances.
Every year since then Travis would help bring together fabulous masterpieces, and most importantly, he introduced us to the concept of confetti cannons. Nothing brought greater joy to Travis or the parade crowds than the sound and sights of those cannons spewing fantastical sparkle against the urban skyline. He was a showman but mostly enjoyed the preparatory work and being behind the scenes and running the logistics of the float.
Beyond his spectacular design and building capacity, Travis was our friend. He never complained, never panicked, and displayed seemingly effortless happiness.
“I am so grateful to have been able to get to know Travis. He was a pure joy—with an infectious grin, great laugh, always positive. I was so impressed with his unassuming leadership skills, both at DotOUT and as manager at Joe’s American Bar and Grill. So many loved and admired him. He was truly remarkable. I feel like Boston has lost one of its favorite sons.Laura Koepnick
“I am not sure where to start. He put all his effort into these amazing floats; the energy they instilled in our group and those watching the Parade was joyous.. With all so much of his time and energy focused on the parade, his selfless side was even more evident that he thought to make sandwiches for everyone in case someone was hungry. He was our ‘anchor’Mark Koeck
As I sit here reflecting on memories of Travis, there’s an NPR story chattering in the background, piercing my melancholy. Giving into it for a moment, I hear it’s a story about some people’s genetic predisposition toward a greater “happiness set point” and positive outlook. If ever there was someone hard wired to see the potential in others, creative solutions, and the bright side — Travis got that gene. I met Travis when he moved to Boston and got involved in DotOUT — for the longest time I couldn’t figure out if his name was Mitchell Travis or Travis Mitchell. I will forever remember his generosity of spirit and shining personality and cherish shared memories of parade seasons, tea dances, and protest marches. Thanks for the inspiration, Travis, please know how much you are loved and missed.Stephanie Moura
“Travis was such a creative and beautiful soul. He had a unique ability to make you feel special. I can’t imagine DotOUT or Dot Day without him.Kristen P
“Travis led us with creating and building our floats to spread joy and happiness down Dorchester Ave for Dot Day and through the center of Boston for The Boston Pride Parade. He was Captain Confetti, every year increasing our inventory of confetti cannons for each parade. Between the decor, the music and the confetti people eagerly anticipated us each year. I believe Travis was like the confetti in so many of our lives. A pop of love and warmth. No matter who was introduced to Travis, he greater them with a smile that everyone remembers and never will forget.”
“Thurston Howell III, Swamp thing, The Yeti, and my personal favorite – caterpillars. These were just some of the costumes that Travis created for my husband Scott and I to wear annually for Dorchester Day and the Pride parades. “It will look really good and goes with the theme” he would say with that familiar Travis smirk and that certain twinkle in his eyes. Sure enough, you trusted him because deep down you knew he was right.
With a little effort, some PVC piping, zip ties and yards upon yards of fabric, a flatbed truck was magically transformed into the SS Minnow or the soundstage of “The Price is Right” or a butterfly, or after one really long cold, wet Boston winter – a snow covered hill. We trusted him because he was right. His vision for our parade floats won awards. But more than any award, his vision increased our visibility in the community and allowed us to be charitable. Our floats would then be repurposed for our annual Tea Dance – our biggest fundraiser of the year. His vision was the springboard for our fundraising and allowed us to partner up with different charities by donating time and money. We gave back to the community and all we had to do was trust Travis. Sitting here today, I’m saddened because I always thought we’d have more parades, more tea dances, more good times and more silly costumes. Most important, I trusted we’d have many years of friendship between us. Trusting Travis was easy. It’s saying goodbye to him that is hard.”
“He was a fantastic person, the big Texan I called him. He had a never-ending capacity for kindness and ingenuity. We would conceptualize ideas for float themes, and he would come back with 12 to 15-foot masterpieces that I never imagined would could pull off in time, but we did. Travis kept me grounded in times of panic, like when an 18-wheeler blocked our way in a storage facility, and we had to find the keys and move it ourselves or when the tow truck driver cut his hand open so badly, they had to find a replacement and we had only an hour before the parade start. Notably, when my mother passed away 10 days before the parades, Travis would not allow our entry to be cancelled and worked harder with our team to put on a flawless parade in my absence. Travis also was incredibly kind to my friends and family and to our volunteers when we would arrive at Joe’s directing exceptional service and special perks without asking. We should all learn from Travis’ kindness and positivity, and most exceptionally his big hugs, the most welcome part of any meeting.”Chris McCoy
“Unshakeable whenever the music went out.
Dauntless at the Fields Corner Bridge.
Travis worked his magic—to make the magic happen for us all.”Marie McRae