In Memoriam: Jeff Harder

Earlier today I came across word that Jeff Harder passed away on Saturday, August 7th.

Jeff was a designer and creative director at Foerstel for more than 15 years before stepping out into the freelance world in 2017. Prior to Foerstel, he was an art director at Creative Source International / Aspen Marketing, and earlier a graphic designer at Typographics in Hailey.

An excerpt from his obituary, recently published online:


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.


Condolences go out to Jeff’s family, friends, and all who knew him.

Remembering Gary Martinez

Those who have been around this business for some time may remember Gary Martinez.

In 2000, Gary, together with Chad Connally, founded AB Positive — an interactive shop that was subsequently acquired by es/drake (now Drake Cooper) in 2006.

Recently, Chad shared on his Facebook page news of Gary’s passing during the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship St. George.

From Chad’s post:

Sometimes a human comes into your life and changes you forever. Gary Martinez was that kind of guy. Heartbreaking to hear this news. Details from his Triathlon coach below:

Hi all,
Last Saturday, over 2000 athletes toed the line at the water’s edge for the St. George 70.3. One of those athletes was Gary Martinez, from Boise, Idaho. St. George would be Gary’s second 70.3, and like most triathletes who pick up triathlon later in life, the swim start would bring forth feelings of excitement and nervousness. Excitement to get started, and nervousness for the unknown that is inherit to endurance racing.
As his coach, I was especially proud of Gary this season. He had made a concerted effort to confront his fears and obstacles head on. Open water swimming made Gary nervous: so he swam in the pond multiple times per week until open water swimming felt second nature. Hills intimated Gary, so he committed to riding three continuous laps of the infamous “Boise Dump Loop” as a key training ride. What was once intimidating was now just another weekend workout. Over the two years I worked with Gary, I got to know a complicated man who was always clear on his priorities: family, faith, work, and personal fitness. When we first started working together he recommended we schedule a weekly coaching call- just 15-20min to touch base and review the week. At first I naively thought I would be the one teaching Gary about training, triathlon, etc. Instead, during those calls Gary taught me how to be a better coach by simply listening. Half the time we talked triathlon training, but the rest of the time we talked about family, faith, or work. When we first started those calls Gary was a client, but soon he became my friend.
We spoke the day before the race about focusing on the elements of the race within his control: his pacing, his nutrition and hydration, his focus. We agreed that his finishing time will simply be a reflection of how well he manages these elements.
Back in his hotel room the night before the race, Gary spoke with his family on FaceTime. They could not make it to the race, but Gary’s wife, Jessica, had slipped drawings from their two young children into his travel bag. Gary had embraced triathlon as a way to improve his quality of life and to set a healthy example for his three children. Though in this moment he was away from family, triathlon was a way Gary could extend and improve the quality of time with his family for years to come.
On the morning of May 1st, 2021, Gary Martinez toed the line at the water’s edge. He was ready to conquer the St. George 70.3 course.
I was later told approximately half way through the swim course Gary suffered a massive cardiac event. He died soon after being brought onto a race support boat.
Some of you may have know Gary. But for those of you who did not: he was a husband, father of three, business man, friend, and triathlete. His friends have started a GoFundMe for his wife, Jessica, and his three beautiful children, Sam, Elaine, and Angelo. Please consider donating to his family during this time of sudden loss. Gary was self-employed and the primary income earner for the household, and any amount will help build a nest egg to help his family through the future. If you would like to be informed about funeral services or simply want to share a story about Gary, please respond to this email.
Antonio Gonzalez
Tri Town Bicycles

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for Gary’s family.

Our condolences go out to Gary’s family, his friends, and all who knew him.

Moving on

People in the agency business come and go on a regular basis. For any number of reasons. While the trends may not be as pronounced locally as they are at a national level, it certainly happens.

But every once in a while there’s a departure that makes us stand up and take notice. In recent months, there have been two.

In late November, Marc Cowlin exited his role as VP of Content and Digital Marketing at Duft Watterson, and in doing so effectively shuttered the shop’s San Francisco presence. A little digging around LinkedIn in the weeks that followed revealed that he is now with BlueOwl, a San Francisco-based technology company.

Separately, in late December Jeremy Chase left Drake Cooper (again), this time to take on the role of VP of Business Development at Salt Lake City-based Love Communications. The update came a couple weeks after Drake Cooper’s announcement that agency ownership had been converted to an ESOP structure.

I do not presume to know the reasons behind either of these departures, as there’s always more to the story than what may be shared publicly.

I’ve known both Jeremy and Marc for many years, and wish them nothing but the best in their respective new roles.

Spotlight on: Idaho Falls Advertising Federation Board

Recently, the Idaho Falls Advertising Federation highlighted their board members on their Facebook page.

Given the work that they — and all members of any Ad Fed board — do, and the time commitments they’re willing to make to serve on the board, it warranted sharing here as well.