CIRI Spotlight: Ernest Berestoff

CIRI shareholder Ernest Berestoff was recently inducted into the Washington School for the Deaf Alumni Association Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments. A celebrated athlete, Berestoff, who was born hard of hearing, was honored at an awards ceremony on July 24 at the school’s campus in Vancouver, Wash.

Berestoff was born Dec. 21, 1931, to Olga Berestoff during the Great Depression. Hardship forced his mother to place him into the Jesse Lee Home, a boarding school and orphanage where he lived until the age of four years old, when a Seattle family with a deaf son took him into their home. He remained with that family and attended regular day school until April 1947, when he enrolled at the Washington School for the Deaf.

Berestoff fell in love with the school and with a green-eyed classmate, Adele Hurst, who he married on Dec. 20, 1952. At the school, Berestoff became known for his athletic talents in basketball and boxing, and was honored with numerous awards, including All Star and All American Athlete awards.

Berestoff went on to make a career as a linotype operator, and he and his wife Adele had three children together. He helped establish the Hearing Loss Center in Spokane, Wash., where he served on the board of directors. Berestoff enjoys fishing with his sons, grandchildren and friends.

Adele Berestoff passed away Jan. 11, 2010, at the age of 76. The Berestoffs had been married 57 years. Berestoff continues to be involved with his church congregation.

“Congratulations to Ernie for the Hall of Fame induction,” said Margie Brown, CIRI president and CEO. “I look forward to seeing Ernie at CIRI Friendship Potlatches and other gatherings when we are in the Pacific Northwest and I miss him when he cannot attend.”