Michael Keith Berger was born September 28, 1964 in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. The son of Keith Berger and Dorothy A. (Leiby) Berger, Michael was baptized in the Trinity Reform Church in Bloomsburg and confirmed while at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. After graduating from high school there, he attended and received his degree from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
After college Michael taught for three years at National Institute for the Deaf before going into the printing business. He moved to Chicago and worked for Diemand Printing until the company’s business was virtually wiped out on 9/11. He went to work for Chipotle and managed a store for the company until taking a position as a pre-print specialist with Inkwell in Chicago.
Michael was an integral part of and advocate for the Deaf Community in Chicago. He was a past president of the Illinois Association of the Deaf and a current board member of the National Association of the Deaf, representing 13 states and travelling all over the country. He belonged to the Chicago Club for the Deaf and MCLD. Michael was also still active in Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, an organization he joined while in college.
After suffering a stroke, Michael was recovering at Schwab Rehabilitation in Chicago. Another stroke caused him to be taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, where he passed away on Friday, November 8, 2013 at the age of 49 years, 1 month, and 12 days. His father Keith and grandparents Roy and Meriam Leiby and George and Mabel Berger preceded him in death.
Michael is survived by his mother and step-father Dot and Martin Kelsay of rural Stella; sister Stephanie and husband Mike Gerdes of Auburn; step-brothers Joel and wife Trisha Kelsay of Auburn, Andrew and wife Tiffany Kelsay of Fort Riley, KS; aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and many, many friends.
Memorials suggested to National Association of the Deaf or Illinois Association of the Deaf.