Altavista, Va. - Donald Edward Singer, 88, son of the late Edward Singer and Marie (Wegner) Singer of Darien, passed away peacefully in his home, Friday, August 31, 2012.
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He joins his father, mother, brother, Douglas and sister, Mary in eternal rest.
He will be sadly missed by his sister, Elizabeth and husband, Chuckles, of Anchorage Ala.; his three sons, Richard of Newfane, Vt., Arthur and wife, Stacey of Boquete, Panama, their daughters, Robin and Heidi of Manhattan, N.Y., William and wife, Kim, their children, Abby, Douglas and Andrew of Mystic; step-children, Tab Shanafelt of Hamilton, Bermuda, Sandy (Shanafelt) Corning of Fairfield and Kelly (Shanafelt) Drake of North Stonington; niece, Catherine Singer of Laguna Hills, Calif. and Colleen (Kane) Singer of Ashaway, R.I.
Born in Darien, Oct. 25, 1923, where he spent the early years of his life, he enlisted in the Navy, became a pilot and flew PBY's and P-40's. During his training in Cuba, he earned the nick name of "Wheels" from his somewhat unorthodox landing approaches. A man of few regrets in life, one that he did voice was that the war came to an end two weeks before his deployment and deprived him of his opportunity to serve his country.
He graduated from Pace College in New York and soon after started a successful advertising company in Manhattan. Always near the water, he found great pleasure from spending his spare time sailing with family and friends. During a cruise to Maine on his 30 ft. Alden gaff-rigged sloop he moored over night in a quaint little place called Noank. He returned shortly after and purchased the Palmer Shipyard in the early 60's and his dream began.
He was an industrious, hard working visionary and a self made man who lived life on his own terms. He set out to reclaim the waterfront of the Old Palmer Shipyard and transformed it into what is now the Noank Shipyard. Those were unquestionably the most enjoyable and memorable days of his life. He was a member and contributor of the Noank Historical Society and Mystic Seaport, president of the Marine Trades Organization, member of the Groton RTM and a very generous contributor to the Noank Zoning Department. Confronted with too many obstacles in expanding the shipyard he elected to move on. He bought a vineyard in Watkins Glen, N.Y. and started a juice concentrating plant, all while impeccably restoring an 1810 farmhouse and barn. He traveled throughout the U.S. and Mexico and lived in Portugal for 10 years before returning to the United States to live in Virginia, close to his best friend of 80 years. In his later years, he found pleasure following the stock market, swimming and maintaining his large vegetable garden. Don lived a long, full and adventurous life. Many of us find it effortless to recall either a loving, humorous or interesting story about his life. Always one ready for a party!
We invite family and friends to join us for a party, a celebration of Don's life from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at The Fisherman Restaurant in Noank.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Noank Historical Society.
Published in The Day on Sept. 15, 2012