Judith Sarah Gaarder

December 22, 1933 ~ March 26, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old


Judith Klein Gaarder (1932-2024) died at her home in Boise on Tuesday March 26. Judith was a loving wife and mother, cherished her many friends, and lived a long and interesting life. Judith loved books in general and read widely, but especially loved reading novels, mysteries, non-fiction, biography, and history that revealed interesting places, ideas, or people.

Born in Newark NJ to Paul and Elinor Klein, Judith lived her childhood in northern New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island. After graduating high school in 1950, Judith moved from Maplewood NJ to Pocatello ID, where she enrolled in the nursing program at Idaho State University. After earning her LPN and working for many years in hospitals and private practices, Judith returned to school to complete a BSN at Boise State University in the mid-1970’s. Several years later, Judith earned an undergraduate Social Work degree also from BSU, allowing her to combine her decades of nursing experience with social work.

In the mid-1980’s, Judith and her husband, Lorin Gaarder (1935-2001), realized their long-held dream of owning and operating a retail antiquarian bookstore. In 1983 they opened Parnassus Books on Ninth street in downtown Boise. Specializing in rare and hard to find books, for 17 years it was a downtown destination for local book collectors and book lovers.

Judith was an active member of the Ahavath Beth Israel synagogue for many years. She developed numerous close friendships with fellow members of the congregation, and after the synagogue moved to N. Latah Street, volunteered her time and expertise to organize and revitalize the synagogue’s library holdings.

Judith is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, beginning with Judith’s eldest daughter Kim Hoppie her husband Robert, and their daughter Rachel of Boise; Judith’s son Tod Gaarder, his wife Jeri Hale Gaarder of Phoenix, and Tod’s son Jason and his children Melissa and Mathew of Salt Lake City; Judith’s youngest daughter Annie Robison and son John of San Jose, CA; and Judith’s youngest son Stephen Gaarder, his wife Susan Hadley, their son Jascha Gaarder, and their daughter Nora Gaarder-Gonzalez and her husband Gary Gonzalez, all of Tucson. Judith’s extended family includes sisters-in-law Ellie Garder of Vancouver Washington and Christa Klein of Munich Germany, cousins Ben and Joan Cohen, Carrie and Dave Wells and Tom and Donna Cohen of New Jersey.

Services will be held at Relyea Funeral Home on Monday April 1 at 2:30pm.

Click here to view a webcast of the service on 4/1/2024 at 02:25 PM, Mountain Standard Time.


April 1, 2024

2:30 PM
Relyea Funeral Chapel
318 North Latah St
Boise, ID 83706

Video is available for this event


Morris Hill Cemetery
317 N Latah St
Boise, ID 83706


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