Anthony Michael Zaffarano, 93, of Barto, passed away peacefully on September 2, 2022, at home. Tony was the widowed husband of Rita M. (DeStefano) Zaffarano, a U.S. Army veteran, and a lifelong artist. Born in Ambler, the youngest son of Italian immigrants, Francesco Italio and Consiglia (Della Donna) Zaffarano, he grew up during the Depression with an appreciation of hard work and the importance of sharing with others what he had. After graduating high school, he attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, until the spring of his second year, when he quit to enlist in the Army. During boot camp at Fort Pickett and Fort Bragg, he was noticed by his superior officers for his willingness to volunteer and invited to take NCO training. On completion of the 43rd Infantry Division’s Advanced Leader’s Course, he was assigned the rank of 1st Field Sergeant and shipped out to Germany. Toward the end of his two-year tour of duty, his wife Rita joined him in Germany, and they visited Oberammergau, Garmisch, Bremerhaven, and Paris, before returning to the U.S. on a troop ship.
To provide for his wife and young family, Anthony worked in the building industry, eventually becoming a custom home builder himself. His career spanned more than 40 years, during which he built 35 homes, many with the help of his son. Yet he never stopped drawing, painting, and wood carving. His largest work, a ten-foot-tall wood carving of St. Michael Archangel, chiseled from a hickory tree on his property, was featured in an article in the Reading Eagle in 2010. He also exhibited two wood carvings, Laurel and Wave Watchers, at the Reading Museum of Art in the early 2000s. In his later wood carvings, he often adapted building techniques, such as lamination and joinery, to reinforce his materials and enhance the design integrity of his work. In the last year of his life, his hands became too unsteady to hold a chisel or carving knife, but he continued to draw and sketch until mid-August.
Surviving are children: Amy Rowland, of Barto, and Mark (Anthony Mark) Zaffarano, and his wife Ellen, of Quakertown; grandchildren: "Bob" (Anthony Robert) Zaffarano, Carolyn Frazer, and Michael Zaffarano; and a great-grandson: Caleb (Anthony Caleb) Zaffarano. He was pre-deceased by siblings: Albert Zaffarano, Michael Zaffarano, and Lena Mullahey; and stepsiblings: Josephine, Katie, Rocco, and Frank.
A Memorial Mass will be on Saturday, September 10th at 10:30 AM at Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 610 Pine Street, Bally, PA. Friends may gather from 10 AM until services. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Feeding America (feedingamerica.org) or the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (stjude.org). To offer online condolences or share stories about this beloved storyteller, please visit his “Book of Memories” at falkfuneralhomes.com.