Nyack College alumna, Elissa Catherine Reynolds Kravchak, of Dacula, GA, passed away peacefully at home on May 14, 2021. She was 38 years old. For three and a half years she battled colorectal cancer bravely and with a positive spirit. She will be greatly missed by the many who loved her and who followed her journey with their prayers and support.
Elissa was born November 9, 1982 in Nyack, NY to Brad and Tina Raaen Reynolds. While they were pastoring in Ventnor, NJ, Elissa’s brother Tim was born two years later. The family moved to France in 1988, where Brad (a 1983 Alliance Theological Seminary alumnus) and Tina were in ministry for 31 years with The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Elissa and Tim attended French schools in five different cities, the longest time being in the Paris area. In high school, they both boarded at Black Forest Academy in Germany, where she graduated with highest honors in 2001.
In 2005, Elissa graduated magna cum laude from Nyack College in New York and moved to Cleveland, GA where her grandparents Tom and Enid Raaen lived. She began working at Performance Food Service in Oakwood, where she remained, and became a marketing associate.
Friends introduced Matt and Elissa at a game night in 2016, during which they found them-selves finishing each other’s sentences. For a year, they dated long-distance. After her cancer diagnosis in October 2017, Matt returned to GA and never left her side, working remotely from home. Matt was the love of her life. They were married February 27, 2021, the best day of their lives.
Elissa bubbled with creativity, intelligence, kindness, and helpfulness. She grew up loving Jesus and as an adult, held her faith more privately, yet always lived out her Christian values. She was an avid reader and especially loved the fantasy genre. As a child she adored writing and wanted to be an author. She collected many things: quotes, books, DVD’s, music. She loved films, sci-fi series, and plays at the Fox Theater. She listened regularly to podcasts and loved NPR. An expert on many things, her cultural knowledge surprised and delighted her Trivia team at Legion, where she and Matt went weekly with his family. Although she was shy, she could belt out a good karaoke tune.
She was constantly cross-stitching (especially during football season) and designed her own masterpieces. Her creativity also found an outlet in the annual PFS Halloween costume con-test, which she won many times. She spent weeks planning, researching and making her cos-tumes. Later she developed baking skills that delighted and fattened all those around her. She and Matt shared a love of discovering new cuisine and of travel. As a child she visited many European countries. With Matt she explored Maui, Iceland and the Florida Keys.
Elissa is survived by her husband, Matthew Kravchak; her parents, Brad and Tina Raaen Reynolds; her brother Tim, his wife Lizzi, and their daughter Rosemary, many aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as loved ones from Matt’s family, his three siblings Joshua, Morgan (twin sister), Mason, and his parents.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, May 29, 11:00 AM at Lilburn Alliance Church, 5915 Lawrenceville Hwy., Tucker, GA 30084. A reception will follow at the church.