HUDSON FALLS and MCLEAN, Virginia — Elaina Bissell-Rager went to be with the Lord 12:04 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, surrounded by loved ones. She was born in Glens Falls on Oct. 10, 1941; the second of eight children to Arthur and Lulumae Gage.
Elaina had a passion for people, business, politics, and music. She graduated from Hudson Falls High school in 1960. She enjoyed singing in the chorus both in school and church. She also graduated from Austin Beauty school and worked in the beauty business for 30 years, starting with Mr. Walt in Bolton Landing. Her entrepreneurial spirit soon led to the first of several home based businesses in South Hartford. There were several other home based salon locations, where her loyal customers followed. She loved seeing her weekly customers, many of whom became beloved friends. She opened Elaina’s Natural Skin Care and Cosmetics in the 1970s. She eventually moved across the street from the mall, to open a Body Wrap business that was internationally recognized. She incorporated the new day spa components to her already well known cosmetics, skin care, body wrap and hair salon.
To many of her employees, she was a role model, mentor, and friend. Some may remember her beauty tip on WWSC , “Think pretty and you will be!” She was a leader in Business Professional Women and Republican Women organizations.
With the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, she was forced to slow down and move to a warmer climate. She moved to Virginia with her daughter, Rainee, where she met Captain Richard Rager; whom she married in 2002. In Virginia, she was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This is also where Elaina began to design and sell pearl jewelry. Her business, Pearls Plus Designs, sold primarily to wounded warriors, their families, and healthcare workers at Walter Reed National Military Center, in Washington D.C. She proudly donated 20 percent of the earnings to the Wounded Warrior Program.
To her children, she was a tireless mother, business women, cheerleader, and friend. She was passionate about her family, always making sure everyone’s needs were met. She loved to dance and sing. Elaina and her four sisters sang professionally as the ‘Satin Dolls’. Her musical talent was exceptional and truly enjoyable for her children and grand children to witness. To her grandchildren and great-grandchild, she was the “tickle monster with endless butterfly kisses.” She was also known as “Nana Banana” and they all loved her “bigger than the bunk beds.” As they grew up, they were also encouraged to live to their fullest potential as she cheered them on to achieve excellence and a higher education.
She always opended up her home and heart to those in need. Elaina’s fun creativite spirit was always apparent in her cheerful, bright attire and beautiful pearls she wore daily.
Elaina was predeceased by her parents, Arthur Gage and Lulumae Gage-Hodder; first husband, Raymond Bissell; sister, Sylvia O’Dell; and niece, Lori Gage.
Left to cherish her memory are her husband, Captain Richard Rager of McLean, Virginia; daughers, Leza Wood (Tim) of Kingsbury, Rainee Bolanos (Marlon) of Lorton, Virginia; son, Raymond Tracey Bissell (Jackie), of Vienna, Virginia; sisters, Lu Anderson (Neil), Kathy Bain (Allan), Connie Fuller (Kneeland); brothers, Bill Gage (Sharon), Mark Gage (Lynda), Ron Gage (Barb); her step children, Sharon Di Renzo (Vincent), Randy Rager, Richard Rager, Jr.(Amy); grandchildren, Zackeria Bissell, Kayla Keith, Chelsea Bolanos, Rebecca Saville (Mike), Marcus Wood, Ashley Bolanos, Charlene Wood, Brandon Bolanos, Mathew Monahan, Arianna Scot, Jackie Ann Rager, Rebecca Rager, Lauren Bean (Geoff), Vince Di Renzo, Richard Rager III, Annie Rager, Abby Rager, and James Patrick Rager, nieces and nephews, Margaret Bennett (Ted), William Anderson (Laurie), Amy Gage (Andrew), Lea Pettis (Craig), Mary Gage (Wayne), John Bain (Denise), Kelly Bain (Dave), Trisha Boucher (Mark), Stacy Fuller-Lamdan (Assaf) and Dena Friday, great-nieces and great-nephews, Jerica Bennett, Lori Pettis, Bailey Pettis, Conner Gage, Marissa Nicholson, Anastasia Laraway, Briant Laraway, Brice Laraway, Kegan Bain, Callista Bain, Dennis Bain, Elisabeth Bain, Madeline Lacoff, Jonathan Lacoff, Ryan Friday, Kimberly Friday, Ethan Lamdan; and great grandson, Aaron Saville.
Friends and family may call from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, Aug 15, at Murphy’s Funeral Home in Falls Church, Virginia. A 2 p.m. service will follow at Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia.
Friends and family are invited to Elaina’s Celebration of Life 1 p.m. , Sunday, Aug 21, at the Presbyterian Church in Hudson Falls, New York.
Interment will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the wonderful staff at Walter Reed National Military Center.