Rosella Gaarder Pace
1917 - 2017
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ROSELLA GAARDER PACE 1917-2017 Rosella Gaarder was born in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, August 9, 1917. Her parents, both descendants of Norwegian immigrants, would often take family excursions to the grandparents farm where Rosella's job was to clean the oil lamps. This, in the days before Rural Electrification. Her long arc of life, amazing memory, & keen grasp of history, left her astonished at 99 to exclaim, "I have lived through 18 presidents!" Rosella's life was shaped by her passion and intense focus on both written and spoken word. Literature, language, politics, and the arts accompanied her lifelong. She was writer, poet, pianist, avid reader. She championed causes supporting peace and justice, the environment, and education. Rosella grew up in the small town of Albert Lea, in southern Minnesota, where she attended high school and studied piano. It was the Depression. The family then moved to Minneapolis, and she entered the University of Minnesota at 16, to study both theatre and English. Soon after graduation, she married C. Robert Pace who was finishing his doctorate in psychology. Their lives together were shaped by his academic career, moving first to New York City, then Washington DC during the war, on to Syracuse, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles. In her college years, Rosella became involved in the new world of radio, and loved performing in stage plays. Later, she did voice work in commercials, radio drama, and interviews for a BBC program "Other Women's Lives" that profiled women from different countries. In the early days of television, she got involved with programming in what was called 'educational television.' After moving to Los Angeles, she joined a poetry group at Beyond Baroque, a literary arts center dedicated to the possibilities of language. There she found a home for her deep desire to hone her craft with other serious poets. She began to publish her work and was a dedicated participant for over a decade, making close friendships that remained for years. In 1992, following her husband's retirement from UCLA, they moved to Arcata to be close to their daughter Jenifer. Rosella soon became an enthusiastic and valued member of the Trinidad Book Club for 20 years. She adapted well to a quieter life here and focused daily on playing classical piano, reading, walking at the Arcata Marsh. She especially cherished piano/flute duets with her grandson Erik when he visited. Rosella Gaarder Pace died peacefully at home with her daughters beside her, February 27, 2017. She was a woman full of grace, wit, and style. Living intentionally, she created beauty and made meaning from all that surrounded her. Rosella is pre-deceased by C. Robert, her husband of 73 years, who died in February, 2011; two brothers Roger M. Gaarder and Charles A. Gorder; and niece Joan Gorder-Fritz. She is survived by her daughters Rosalind Pace of Truro, MA, and Jenifer Pace of Arcata, CA; grandsons Erik P.Pearson (Sonya Hunter) of Berkeley, CA, Timothy P. Pearson (Alexa Elam) of New York, NY; great grand-daughter Tiara Hunter-Pearson; nieces Wendy Gaarder Smith and Nancy Gaarder Bell and their families, and nephew Jon Gorder and his family. We wish to extend deepest gratitude to Nancy Reichard, neighbor and friend, who gave Rosella such great pleasure in adventurous pursuits and conversations, and to Julie Ohnemus MD for her friendship and compassionate care for 25 years. Thanks, also, to Hospice of Humboldt for their attentive and gracious support during Rosella's final year. Please sign the guestbook at

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Published in Times-Standard on Mar. 5, 2017.
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March 7, 2017
What a lovely tribute to an amazing woman, and what a LIFE! I've enjoyed "knowing" Rosella from Tim and Alexa's stories.
Anne Pole
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