Joe Zarro & Dana Charlton Zarro

Joe Zarro and Dana Charlton (Zarro)

Joe Zarro and Dana Charlton (Zarro)

Watching over some FOHBC email traffic between Dana Charlton and FOHBC Business Manager, Alan DeMaison I was saddended to learn of Joe Zarro’s passing. Though I did not know Joe, I certainly had seen him at shows. I also have not met Dana but I feel like I already know her from her extensive postings on the bottle blogs. Her passion certainly shines through. I am posting the emails and a picture of Joe and Dana.

Hello Alan,

Thank you for your email – I have renewed my membership and have been enjoying the updated website of the Federation. I renewed with the last name of my late husband, Joe Zarro, who, I am terribly sorrowed to tell you, passed away from a sudden, massive heart attack on May 11, 2011. Thank you for your attention.


Dana Charlton Zarro


On behalf of the FOHBC officers and members, please accept our deepest regrets on the passing of your husband. As I read your email, It reminded once again to appreciate and admire those individuals that have in any way been caretakers to the hobby we so love. My prayers are with you.

Alan DeMaison


Thank you so very much for your kind and thoughtful email. Joe was a bottle & antiques collector for over 40 years (myself for only 34). Joe collected so many categories over that time; several years ago he displayed his rarer strap flasks at the Saratoga, NY show. We were wed inside the National Bottle Museum in 2001 and though our marriage lasted only 8 years, were close friends again before his passing & were looking forward to getting together last month. Instead of being together on what would have been our 10th anniversary, I was preparing a eulogy for Joe’s memorial service. Dick Watson, the Mitchells, and several other bottle collectors joined us at that service to remember and pay respects to a good man. I’m writing a tribute for John Pastor’s magazine and will send him photos from Joe’s album covering the hobby since 1972. Thank you again. Attached is a photo of Joe and me together.


Dana Charlton (Zarro)

Dana followed up with a little story that I have added below. Dana also collects Dog Tags. Here is a recent Article she wrote:

For PAW PRINTS – Dana Does Tags – June 2011

In 1998 I received an envelope in the mail addressed to “The Dog Tag Lady” — no other name — with my accurate address in Yonkers, NY. It was postmarked from Jasper, Tennessee.

Inside, written on a brown paper bag, was a heartfelt letter in scrawled penmanship. The writer told me that when she was a young girl, her dog had fallen into a well and died, but she still had his tag. Now she lived in Jasper, Tennessee, and had been a waitress in the Cup & Sup Diner there. She wore the tag on a cord around her neck, and the men customers made fun of her and left dog biscuits for tips. She was living in a home now, making jelly bread sandwiches, and was sending me her dog’s tag for safekeeping. She’d heard about me and knew it would be safe with me. Enclosed was a brass tag dated 1939 from Palmer, Massachusetts.

I was so surprised and struck by this letter — I began calling Jasper to find her and let her know the tag was safe and to see if she was all right. I tried to find the Cup & Sup Diner or any other diners who might know where she was living.  No one did.  I went to the ISALC Convention that year and brought the letter and tag with me to show the other members and they, too, were struck by the sadness of it.

Later, during a phone call from my good friend Joe Zarro, who was working out of town, he asked me if I’d received a letter and dog tag in the mail.  I told him the sad story and heard him laughing — Joe had written it!  He never expected me to take it seriously, let alone try to find the woman.  It was classic, well-intentioned Joe Zarro humor.

In 2001, Joe and I were wed, and the next June we traveled to Montpelier, VT for the ISALC Convention hosted by Dick and Tracy Henrickson. It was quite a way to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary! We had a great time, and enjoyed the splendor of the Northeast.

I am so very sorrowed to tell you that on May 11, 2011, my dear Joe passed away from a massive heart attack.  I can’t believe it yet.  Joe traveled in his antiques business to many places and always found dog license tags for me.  The best tag in his latest group is a copper tag dated 1923 with a dog on it, from Bisbee, but the best tag in my collection is the 1939 tag from Palmer, Massachusetts. Rest in peace, dear Joe, I’ll miss you always.

Courtesy of July 2011 issue of PAW PRINTS, newsletter of ISALC (International Society of Animal License Collectors), a club for dog license tag collectors with over 100 members. A gratis copy of the newsletter and/or membership application is yours for the asking from Editor Bill Bone: tagman51@att.netMore than one FOHBC member already belongs to both!