Donald Marsella, 81, passed away on Feb. 7, 2016 after a brief illness at Norwalk Hospital. He was born on Aug. 11, 1934, in Detroit, Mich., to Janet Marone and Donato Marsella.

Don enlisted in the United States Navy in 1951 and served as a radar man during the Korean War. Shore leave at the Brooklyn Navy Yard spurred Don’s love of the Big Apple and all things New York. He married Jeanette Marchese in 1955, had two children, and began a career as a hairdresser. A self-made man, he successfully launched and operated a series of hair salons and a private label hair products business until his retirement in 1998.

He called Great Neck, N.Y., and Queens, N.Y., his home until he recently moved to Wilton, Conn.

Don is survived by his former wife, Jeanette (Marchese); his children, Daniel of Great Neck, N.Y., and Derrel Mason of Wilton; his son-in-law Matthew Mason; five beloved grandchildren: John Clark Mason of Brooklyn, N.Y., Jenna Marsella Mason and Jordan Elizabeth Mason, both of Wilton, Alexis Leah Marsella of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Lindsay Guerra Wyman of Greenwich, Conn.; his sister, Linda Taylor, of Florida, and his brother, Daniel Marsella, of Nashville, Tenn.; and five nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Marie (Marsella) MacAyeal.

Don loved reading, politics, theater, bragging about his grandkids, hearing a story well told, and good red wine. He had the quickest wit and an infectious laugh. He never stopped saying that America was the land of opportunity and that he had a life well lived.

Family and friends are invited to a Celebration of Life on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m. at Norfield Congregational Church, 64 Norfield Road, Weston, Conn. In the event of inclement weather, changes to the date and time of the service will be posted at boutonfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County — Respite Care Fund, P.O. Box 489, Wilton, CT 06897 or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (stjude.org).