Remembering Michael Berger

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) mourns the loss of a current Board Member and dear friend. A NAD Board Member for Region II, Michael Berger passed away at the age of 49 on November 8, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois, after suffering a severe stroke from which he never recovered.

Michael Berger was born on September 28, 1964, and grew up in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Michael attended the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, graduated in 1983 and then went to the Rochester Institute of Technology at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), from which he graduated in 1991. He then taught printing at NTID and was a faculty member at RIT/NTID for three years. For the past thirteen years, he was happily working in the field of desktop publishing, working for several companies.


Michael Berger gave of himself completely to the deaf community and devoted his time to advocacy for our rights and community unity. His advocacy efforts and community involvement includes serving as president of the Illinois Association of the Deaf (IAD), and during his excellent leadership the IAD received the NAD State Association Award and the Deaf Illinois Outstanding Membership Organization Award. He was the President Emeritus of IAD. He also coordinated the “Duppies” (Deaf Happy Hour) in the Chicago area, which was a way for the deaf community to get together every month. Mike also served on the Board of other organizations including the Chicago Club of the Deaf where he gave a lot of his time and expertise, as well as the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf.

During his five years on the NAD Board, Michael contributed extensively with his leadership and organization skills. He was a truly valuable Board member who pulled together comprehensive delegate manuals for the last two conferences and assisted greatly with the State Association and Affiliate Committee (SAAC) to share resources across the country. Michael got involved with the NAD to contribute his leadership skills and to encourage deaf and hard of hearing people to join NAD for leadership training and education. He strongly believed that “the NAD offers excellent benefits and resources and can assist people with whatever they need.”

“Michael Berger’s death is a crushing and heartbreaking loss for the NAD and our deaf and hard of hearing community,” said NAD President Chris Wagner. “Mike gave much more than just his time; he gave of himself and put all his energies into the community he cared about. The NAD board and staff are deeply saddened by Mike’s death, but we will always cherish his invaluable contributions – especially his work with state associations and the Council of Representatives. Mike was simply determined and dedicated to make things better for the next generation, and he did this very well. I am grateful for his friendship, service and the time we had the privilege of working with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

“Michael Berger and I became friends when we both started working in Chicago 20 years ago and found so much in common in our mutual desire to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, NAD CEO. “He has been a wonderful advocate and ally to have by our side through the past two decades. More than that, he was a gentle spirit and great buddy with whom I would enjoy spending time and the occasional cigar. His tremendous work with the NAD was an extension of his passion and love for the community. He will very much be missed.”


NAD Board Member for Region II, Mike Berger talks about the NAD at the DeafNation Expo in Chicago, 2010.


Mike Berger and Richard McCowin, both NAD Board Members for Region II gather input from NAD Leadership Training Conference attendees in 2011.