Boston became a little less fabulous and a lot less irreverent with the death of John Michael Gray, one half of the inimitable Hat Sisters.

Created on a whim for Carnival in Provincetown, the gender-fluid duo—think Dame Edna with mustaches—have been an unsinkably upbeat presence at fundraisers
for causes ranging from feeding the sick to homelessness to you name it. Born out of the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, the party pair became part of the fabric of Boston’s and Provincetown’s social life; in short, if there was a fundraiser for a good cause, the Hat Sisters were there to buoy the mood and inject a little color into the proceedings.

In a 2013 interview, late Boston mayor Tom Menino recalled a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Key West, Fla. He was president of the group and was scheduled to attend a large dinner, but then he found out the Hat Sisters were in town: “I dumped the other mayors. The Hat Sisters do so much good. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years.”

Our deepest condolences to Gray’s husband, Tim O’Connor. The world has lost an impish, sweet, giant-hearted man. Hats off to you.

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