Since mid-March, as the Covid-19 crisis unfolded, 84-year-old David “Scotty” Shevlin no longer held court at the Hi Smiley Food Mart on Main Street in Dobbs Ferry.
Prior to the pandemic, Scotty was the center of attention at that convenience store every weekday morning. For hours he sat there, inside or outside depending upon the weather.
Passersby who knew him had to greet him, even from across the street. Otherwise he would call out, in his Scottish brogue, referring to men as “lad” and women as “lass.”
Every now and then, Scotty stopped into the Rivertowns Enterprise, usually with a letter to the editor. His letters were always handwritten, which required reading them in his presence to ensure that his penmanship was understood.
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” he always exclaimed during that process, his sarcasm as heavy as his accent.
The pandemic forced Scotty and other senior citizens to stay at home. He was missed on Main Street, where he also participated in programs for seniors at Village Hall.
Scotty lived a block away, in an apartment on Palisade Street, near his church, Our Lady of Pompeii. Starting in March, as part of the Village of Dobbs Ferry’s Senior Angels program, he was paired with Joe Cox, who checked in on him.
“I’ve known him since he was in diapers,” Scotty said about Joe for a story published in the Enterprise. Joe graduated from Dobbs Ferry High School in 2002. He now coaches the school’s football team.
Scotty knew generations of Dobbs Ferry residents, especially those who played for that storied high school football program. For 47 years, he was the play-by-play announcer at the team’s home games.
From atop a scaffold at Gould Park, Scotty used a unique set a phrases to call games, including “diddle, diddle up the middle” to describe running plays and “yellow handkerchiefs” to refer to penalty flags. He also called out to people he knew, as if he was on the sidewalk outside Hi Smiley.
In addition to being “the voice” of a football program, Scotty was a veteran of the U.S. Army who served during the Vietnam War. As a member of American Legion Post 1048, he was a perpetual presence at events held in honor of patriotic holidays.
Scotty passed away on July 9, from a stroke. He leaves behind a community he “knew very well,” and that will remember him for his voice and for much more.