Dana L. Tarbox, a licensed counselor, former assistant director of Treatment Resources for Youth and recently the owner of Tarbox Counseling and Wellness, died Feb. 11 of liver and kidney failure at her Hamilton home. She was 51.
“Dana was energetic and cared deeply about her patients,” said Dr. Matthew A. Malouf, a psychologist who shared a suite in Ms. Tarbox’s practice. “She was very client-focused and attended to their needs and relationships. At the height of her practice, she had a fair amount of folks from all walks of life. We’re really going to miss her.”
Erica Bertulis, a cousin and Ms. Tarbox’s goddaughter, lives in Ellicott City.
“She was energetic, bubbly, fun and caring and always wanted to help people,” Ms. Bertulis said. “She had grown up seeing problems in her own family and this made her want to help people.”
Dana Louis Tarbox, daughter of Michael Tarbox, a motorcycle mechanic at Boutwell’s Cycle Center, and his wife, Evelyn Carnes Tarbox, was born in Baltimore and initially lived in the city’s Evergreen neighborhood before moving to Eldersburg with her family in 1980.
“Dana was a bona fide city girl and did not like the environment in rural Carroll County,” said her husband of three years, Frank Murphy, a traffic engineer and senior adviser in the city Department of Transportation, and also a musician. “She found comfort in music and frequently attended shows in Baltimore.”
Ms. Tarbox attended Liberty High School and later earned her General Educational Development diploma.
When she was 24 years old and raising her first child, Allyson, she both worked and attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, from which she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
She earned a master’s degree in applied psychology from McDaniel College and a second master’s degree in counseling in 2011, also from McDaniel.
Ms. Tarbox began her career as an addictions counselor at Treatment Resources for Youth in Baltimore, eventually rising to become assistant director, while at the same time maintaining a full caseload of middle and high school clients.
In 2011, she joined Epoch Counseling Center, where she was also assistant director.
“She hired me in 2009 as an administrator at Epoch,” said Amanda Wolfe, an Edgemere resident.
“Dana was a very strong person who definitely brought a lot of caring and tenacity to her work. She was not one to give up on things,” Ms. Wolfe said. “She was the kind of person who always had your back, and that’s why her clients really loved her. She was a very open and honest person to a point."
In 2014, Ms. Tarbox opened her own practice, Tarbox Counseling and Wellness, on Wyndhurst Avenue in Roland Park.
“I’ve known Dana for three years and we worked together," said Dr. Malouf, who is head of Malouf Counseling and Consulting in Roland Park and a Guilford resident. "She worked with a range of people, many of whom were outside of the norm. She put in long hours to accommodate them, and they were drawn to her because she told it like it was. She didn’t mess around, and was very honest and transparent.”
Ms. Tarbox had undiagnosed health concerns that only grew in number and intensity in recent years, her husband said, so much so, that by 2019, she was forced to close her practice.
“Frequently, former clients would come up to Dana and indicate how she had changed their lives for the better,” her husband wrote in a biographical profile of his wife. “Everyone who met Dana would likely agree with that assessment. She constantly put the wants and need of others over her own. She was one of the most selfless people you would ever meet.”
Jennifer A. Grue of Parkville is a longtime friend.
“We’ve been friends for 25 years,” recalled Ms. Grue. “She was very kind and enthusiastic about everything she did and she loved her dogs and animals in general. She was an extremely generous person.”
She said that Ms. Tarbox was also a music lover. “She loved punk rock but hated country music,” she said. “She also loved living in the city and going to farmers markets like the Waverly Farmers Market.”
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In 2015, Ms. Tarbox met her future husband, a bass player and a member of Bad Neighbors, who were playing a gig at the Cat’s Eye Pub in Fells Point. After a “whirlwind romance,” her husband said, they married two years later.
Ms. Tarbox enjoyed cooking.
“She liked making pizza,” said Ms. Grue, an administrator at SurgiCenter in Owings Mills. “She also watched the Food Network all of the time. That’s where she got a lot of her ideas and many of her recipes.”
Ms. Tarbox and her husband had planned to make improvements to their White Avenue home, but their first love was travel, to which they succumbed, and especially liked visiting the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.
A memorial service was held Feb. 16 at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Rodgers Forge.
In addition to her husband. Ms. Tarbox is survived by two daughters, Allyson Tarbox of Hampden and Quinby Sohlberg, a City College senior, of Overlea; her mother, Evelyn C. Tarbox of Federal Hill; and a sister, Kristi Tarbox of Violetville. An earlier marriage to Robert Sohlberg ended in divorce.