Daniel David Stern was born on July 28, 1943, in Locarno, Switzerland and died in Boise, Idaho, on July 11, 2022. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Paula Knoblock Stern, his daughters, Becky (Steve) and Frances (Orie “Dit”). He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother in law, Glenn Knoblock.
The way Dan led his life was encompassed in his marriage to Paula in August of 1985. They were true partners in all things. They shared a deep love of music, travel, and family. Dan and Paula traveled the world together. They enjoyed opera in some of the world’s foremost opera houses. They were “partners in crime” in spoiling the three grandchildren. The entire family is deeply grateful for the loving and constant care she has given him over the past years, exceeding what anyone else would have been able to do. Their marriage is a testament to the love and sacrifice necessary for such a loving successful union.
Dan was born in Switzerland in the middle of World War II to Jewish parents, Frans Martin Stern and Dorette Tchenio. The small family survived the war and when Dan was six years old was able to immigrate to the United States, settling in Rochester, New York.
Dan entered the Rochester public school system knowing only the Italian and French languages. He had to assimilate quickly, learn the language and socialize. Not surprisingly, he was successful at both, and socializing became a lifelong love. He also was active in his local synagogue, going to religious school several days a week. Dan loved playing baseball and other sports, but he particularly loved playing the violin.
Dan went to Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where he received his degree in music education. He then moved out west to begin a teaching position in Salem, Oregon. While in Oregon, he joined the National Guard.
In Salem, he first met the mother of his children, Julia Rice. He began his doctoral studies at the University of Oregon, where Julia and he were married in 1968. That is also where they had their two daughters, Rebecca and Frances. Much to his great delight, Rebecca attended Eastman and Frances attended the University of Oregon.
After receiving his doctorate, the family moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, for a job at Highland University. Their move to Boise came in 1974, when he accepted a position as Music Director and conductor with the Boise Philharmonic, one he held with great success until 1987. During this time, Dan also conducted many performances with Opera Idaho and Ballet Idaho, as well as teaching at College of Idaho and Boise State University. He guest conducted in Costa Rica, throughout the Northwest as well as at his alma mater, Eastman. He also had the honor of conducting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
After leaving the Boise Philharmonic, Dan ventured into the financial industry, holding positions with New York Life, Charles Schwab, and as a private banker at Wells Fargo. In 2005, he was asked to take over as Music Director for the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra, which had been established in 2003. He loved his return to music, his true avocation, until he retired at the end of the 2018-2019 season. In 2014, he was awarded the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.
Dan was active throughout his life in a variety of civic and religious organizations. He was a member of the Boise Downtown Rotary Club, serving in multiple capacities, including president. He also was active in the local Jewish community, having an integral role in the merger of Congregation Beth Israel and Congregation Ahavath Israel, and being a lay leader for services prior to the hiring of full time rabbi, Dan Fink.
One of his greatest accomplishments was the kind of father and co-parent he was. Becky and Frances always knew that both their parents loved and supported them. Dan and Julia ensured that they were both active in all areas of the girls’ lives growing up. Dan was thrilled when Becky followed in the “family footsteps” and became a successful musician. He was equally thrilled when Frances went to law school, and became a lawyer in Boise. Frances was also nice enough to give him three grandchildren. In 2021 Becky and her husband moved back to the Boise area, so he had everyone where he thought they should be.
If asked, Dan would likely state that his greatest pleasure was being a grandfather to his three grandchildren, Ben, Gina, and Angie Dudley. He was thrilled to be near them as they grew up. He rarely missed a sporting event, going to countless baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, and fencing matches. He was the tutor for each of the children’s bar/bat mitzvah, allowing them to have a special bond with him.
Dan was a true believer in civil rights and human rights. He had no tolerance for racism of any kind or anti-semitism. As a lifelong Democrat, he had an abiding belief in voter’s rights and social justice. He also felt strongly that each child should be given access to music education. Thus, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made in his name to one of the following organizations: Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League, the Idaho Commission on the Arts, or any organization that is supportive of democratic ideals, voting rights, and preserving democracy.