Jeffery James Harder
May 24, 1967 - August 7, 2021
Boise, Idaho - Jeffery James Harder: sweetheart husband, number one son, funniest brother, caring uncle, loyal friend, gifted artist, home fixer-upper, snappy dresser, lover of things with wheels, passed away at home Saturday, August 7th surrounded by family and love.
He was an artist in every sense of the word. There were early signs of this watching how he put his Legos together to what ended up on paper when he could first hold a pencil. In fact, his first-grade teacher called Jeff's mom asking if the drawing of a truck he submitted as an assignment was really done by a first grader. Throughout his life, his talent came through in everything he did.
Jeff was born to Jim and Barbara Harder in Sacramento, California on May 24, 1967. After a move to Los Angeles, the family relocated to Boise, Idaho in 1972. His childhood was filled with bike rides to Delsa's Ice Cream, road trips in his dad's orange Chevy K5 Blazer, skiing at Bogus Basin and Baldy, running around with friends, goat farms, lettuce sandwiches, and lots of doodling. But nothing was as impactful as when he walked into English class at Meridian High School in 1982 in his grey Member's Only jacket and caught the eye of a beautiful blonde who would become the love of his life, Pam Heiken. They dated throughout high school and stayed in touch while Pam attended Boise State University and Jeff went to Illinois to attend Columbia College Chicago, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Jeff and Pam married at Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley in March of 1993. They stayed and lived in Ketchum, Jeff working at a design agency in Hailey while Pam worked at Sun Valley Company. Those years in Sun Valley would cement a bond with the area that started for Jeff in his childhood and would continue for the couple throughout their lives. They moved back to Boise in 1996, eventually settling in the Boise Foothills in a home they loved and were in the middle of remodeling. The couple made friends wherever they went, their infectious laughter when they were together was not only contagious but central to family dinners and holidays. They traveled, often with friends and family from Montana to Mexico to New York, creating the memories of their 28-year love story.
Design opportunities throughout his career came from both agency and freelance work. First at Typographics in Hailey, and eventually as Creative Art Director at Foerstel Design in Boise. His wine label design for Retrospect Meritage won a national Communication Arts annual design award, and his Oktoberfest Porsche poster design for Silver Sage garnered interest around the world. He was a key part of the design team that brought the Idaho Potato Commission's giant potato truck to life that is now part of pop culture; Jeff's versatility and sense of humor driving down the highway. Potatoes or Porsches; if it had potential or beauty Jeff was thinking about it. His work is in kitchens, on bookshelves, displayed in homes.
Jeff loved his parents dearly; he would say his dad was his hero. They spent countless hours together on remodeling projects in his dad's shop, listening to music and talking about everything from life to the latest car race. Jeff was the core talent in a family that could remodel anything – home after home, kitchens and bathrooms were remodeled with no detail spared. He worked closely with his sister creating stunning woodwork and other pieces. While he had fears and demons, his inherent talent and eye for beauty was endless. His greatest attribute however was how he loved, tender and kind. He was a beautiful soul.
Love and gratitude go to St. Luke's Hospice team who so tenderly and professionally cared for Jeff and those around him. Belinda, Athena, and Craig, you will not be forgotten.
Jeff is survived by his wife Pam Harder, his parents Jim and Barbara Harder, his sisters Julie Bell and Jamie Drake, his nephews Cody Brown and James Bell, his niece Coco Drake and his cats Tony and Luigi.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Luke's Hospice or the Idaho Humane Society. A celebration of life will be held in Jeff's honor on Saturday, September 11 with more detail forthcoming.
And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart,
Everybody sees you're blown apart,
Everybody sees the wind blow,
I'm going to Graceland
Published by Idaho Statesman on Aug. 12, 2021.