Biography of Grace M. Elasky (adapted from the funeral folder)
Grace Flood Elasky was born in Ogema, Wisconsin November 1, 1926, the fourth of five children born to Albert and Ruth Flood. Albert and Ruth’s parents were immigrants from Sweden. Grace grew up with Swedish and English spoken at home. Her parents faithfully brought her to Ogema Baptist Church, along with siblings Betty, Earl, Cal and Myrl, the youngest. Winters were harsh with 40 degree below temperatures at times. Grace’s father would carry her on his shoulders to church in the winter along the railroad tracks, if needed, because that path was the most direct to town and to church. Grace prayed with her mother to receive Christ into her life when she was 13 years old. She grew in her understanding through church Bible study.
Music was very important in the family. Grace’s mother was a soloist, taught voice lessons in the home, and was the church choir director. The choir grew to the point that the church tore down a balcony to enlarge the choir loft. Grace remembered that her mother "would gather us kids around the piano and give us voice lessons." Grace was given the lead part in school operettas when she was a junior and a senior in high school. She sang in traveling trios around WI and in neighboring states.
Grace grew up on a farm, but her father worked for the highway department. He became the first traffic officer for the county. When her older brothers went into the Navy and the Army during World War II, Grace and Myrl took over a lot of the farm work. After the war, Grace worked in the Chicago area and worked for a wealthy family in Arizona for a summer.
During a trio singing trip to Minneapolis, Dick Elasky and Grace met. They married one year later, in 1950. Neighboring Pastor and friend Hilda Ljungquist wrote a special 2-page poem for the occasion.
Grace and Dick began their life together in Minneapolis. Grace took many night classes at Northwestern Bible School. In January 1953, Joy was born. Grace and Dick became friends with other young couples in the area, including Paul and Grace Ramseyer. Working for KTIS radio, Paul recruited Grace to record messages for a program called Resting Time. Dick and Grace were mentored by early leaders of the Navigator movement. They learned to memorize Scripture and disciple believers. Grace met one-on-one for Bible study with other women. She held neighborhood home Bible studies in her own home and others’ homes. Grace worked as the church secretary from the late 1950s into the early 1960s. In November 1963, Jan was born. Grace began speaking for Christian Women’s Clubs. Dick worked as an entrepreneur, realtor, and restaurateur.
One of the younger women Grace discipled was Donna Parish Lundborg. Donna’s mother Alice lived in the California Bay Area and knew A. Wetherell Johnson, founder of Bible Study Fellowship. Alice urged Miss Johnson to train Myrl and Grace to bring BSF to the Upper Midwest, which they did in the 1960s.
Grace ministered through Bible Study Fellowship for 21 years, first as a Teaching Leader, later as an Area Advisor, visiting classes in several states. Also, Dick and Grace traveled extensively, visiting Israel, Europe and Africa. She particularly loved Israel and said it made the Bible come alive as she would be teaching Scripture and could picture the locations.
Throughout her life, and especially in BSF, she led many women to Christ and helped them grow in their faith. After "retiring" from BSF she served on the boards of New Hope Center and City Life Center and led prayer groups at First Free Church. Above all, Grace lovingly poured her heart into caring for her family—her husband, children, and grandchildren—discipling others, and being a friend to and prayer warrior for countless people.