Donald George Miriello, a beloved member of Rye’s business community, who owned and operated The Best Little Salon in Rye, died November 10, 2018 at the age of 70. He lived a colorful life filled with many interests and adventures.
He was born in New York City on September 28, 1948 to Donald Anthony and Frances (Lombardino) Miriello. His overjoyed parents had waited years for the arrival of what would be their only child. Don was cherished as the youngest cousin in a big and tight-knit Italian family in the Bronx.
His childhood summers were spent at his family house in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Unlike many boys from the Bronx, young Don gathered eggs from the chicken coop, played deep in the woods, and shot a bear.
As a young man, he married a New Hampshire girl, and although the marriage didn’t last, it produced a beautiful son, Damian, an only child like his father.
So strong was the pull of New Hampshire, that in December 2002, Don and his soon-to-be-wife, Jonna Crispens, purchased a second home on Dalton Mountain. The property, set on more than 20 acres, featured a long, winding driveway that led to a brick house with breathtaking views of the Presidential Range. It was the views that would later provide the backdrop to an amazing wedding. Don would later say, “It was the best wedding I ever attended, and it was mine.”
Don and Jonna made the trek to New Hampshire for many years, undertaking a gradual transformation of the property. He came to love John Deere tractors as much as he did great cars.
New Hampshire wasn’t his only love. He was smitten with boats from the age of 12 when he received a small one purchased from Sears & Roebuck. One of his favorite boats was an old wooden Viking that he cherished and meticulously maintained for many years. He later owned a Magnum, an engineering marvel in the mind of many. “Don’s heart seemed to beat a little happier when he was on Long Island Sound, sporting a nicely earned tan and feeling the salty wind in his hair,” recalled his wife Jonna.
As a young man, Don joined the Air Force and was stationed in Kansas. He worked on top secret missile silos and saw aerial combat in Vietnam. He earned his pilot’s license and in later years would regale new acquaintances with tales of his flying adventures.
After his honorable discharge in 1970, Mr. Miriello, with the help of the GI bill, decided to follow (somewhat) in his father’s footsteps by getting a beautician’s license. He had a natural talent, but he wanted to be among the best, so he began a daily calling campaign to the Vidal Sassoon salon in Manhattan to work as an assistant. Perseverance won out, and he was eventually granted an audience to show what he could do and was offered a chance to receive formal training in the Vidal Sassoon technique.
As his talent bloomed, he chose to return to Westchester County, where he remained throughout his career. Over the years, he studied among the masters of Europe; traveled the world as the first International Artistic Director of the Aveda Corp.; coordinated hairstylist teams for Milan’s top fashion shows; owned two advanced hairstylist training schools, including one in Rome; owned what was once the largest independent salon chain in Westchester County; and, with his then-fiancé, Jonna The Best Little Hair Salon, a fixture in Rye for over 20 years.
During his years in Rye, Don Miriello forged many great and rewarding friendships. Work was never truly work. He loved his craft and enjoyed the varied and interesting things he learned as he talked with clients.
His Italian heritage gave him a love of great Italian food, a fondness for Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and a love for the music of artists like Frank Sinatra and Andrea Bocelli and the like.
He was blessed with an adoring wife, Jonna Crispens of the Bronx; a loving son, Damian Miriello of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; and many wonderful cousins, family members, clients, and friends.