Cover photo for Judy L Garden's Obituary
Judy L Garden Profile Photo
1944 Judy 2023

Judy L Garden

January 24, 1944 — December 29, 2023

Judy L Garden, age 79, of Park Rapids, MN, passed away at sunset on Friday, December 29, 2023. She had family by her side. 

Judy was born Jan. 24, 1944, in Mahnomen, MN to John and Lillie Gunnufson. They were married 16 years until finally they were blessed with their one and only, Judy! The early years, they lived on a farm, east of Twin Valley, MN. In 1950, John moved his family to town so that Judy could begin school. Judy loved school, having friends and all the activities she was able to participate in, from theater and band to cheerleading for her Twin Valley Tigers. 

After graduating from High School in 1962 she moved to Fargo and worked at Merchant National Bank. In Dec of 1963, she married her sweetheart Rodney Garden. In August of 1964, they packed up and moved to Hinkley, MN where Rod began his lifelong career teaching Industrial Arts. They were blessed with a son, Ryan, then a daughter Valerie. In 1968, they moved their family to Park Rapids, to be closer to the family and the lakes area. The family grew to five, with an additional daughter, Jonell. Rod and Judy made Park Rapids their lifelong home, and it proved to be a great town to raise a family.  Judy took great care of her family and made it a home. She did some "fun" jobs, such as childcare, Super 8, and car hopping at the A & W.   In 1980, she began to work for Dr. Shuckart and Dr Reich at the dental office as a receptionist. She knew all the patients, their families and cared for each. Judy retired in 2011. The retirement years went far too quickly.  However, Rodney and Judy were able to travel to Norway, which was a highlight. 

Most weekends in the summer, you would find Judy at the family cabin on South Twin Lake. She would be busy cooking, picking sticks and "sweating like a butcher".  Rarely, if ever, stepping foot in the water but always enjoying company that stopped by. Judy was a proud Norwegian. She loved Elvis, dancing with any willing partner and the occasional good screwdriver.  

Family and Friends. That is what Judy lived for. She loved holidays, Garden parties, and never needed a reason for a gathering. Judy loved her role as a grandma, and she was the absolute best at it. The kids loved her cream puffs, her bear hugs and even the nibble to the nose. Friendships meant the world to her and most notably were her "coffee club" ladies of over 50 years, the faculty friends from PR schools, her classmates from Twin Valley and Rodney's from Gary, her many cousins, the dental patients and everyone in between.  

Judy's life was a blessing to us all, we will treasure the memories and miss her so very much: Judy is survived by: Ryan (Mollie) Garden of St. Cloud, MN; Val (TJ) Horsager of Inver Grove Heights, MN; Jonell (Jay) Richards of Callaway, MN; Her dearly loved grandchildren: Madeline, Reagan, Ripley and Claire Garden; Grant and Garrett Horsager; and Jake (Anna), Jon, Jack and Jens Richards. Judy was also blessed with one great granddaughter, Eira Jo Richards. Survived also by her only in-laws, Audrey, and Jim Glick of Grand Forks, as well as two nieces: Kristin (Ron) Wilson and Karla Glick (Eric Lemcke), as well as cousins and countless friends. 

Judy is preceded in death by her husband Rodney, her parents as well as Rodney’s parents

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, January 15, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, January 15, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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