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May 15, 2003

Pauline "Polly" Peikoff Passes Away

From: Gallaudet (Press Release) - May 15, 2003

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2003

Contact: Mike Kaika, Director of Media Relations

Phone: 202-651-5050


Pauline "Polly" Peikoff Passes Away

Pauline "Polly" (Nathanson) Peikoff passed away peacefully on May 15, 2003 at the age of 89 in Adamstown, Maryland.

Polly and her late husband, David, who passed away in February 1995, were legends throughout Canada, the United States, and the entire deaf world as well. Born and raised in Canada, Polly was educated at the Manitoba School for the Deaf in Winnipeg and spent 1930-31 academic year at Kendall School on the Gallaudet campus. In 1931, she enrolled at Gallaudet and was a member of the Class of 1936. She met her husband to be, David, who graduated from Gallaudet in 1929, and in 1932 they exchanged wedding vows. After a few years in Winnipeg, the Peikoff's moved to Toronto where they settled for 24 years until 1961 when the Gallaudet College Alumni Association persuaded David to become chairman of their Centennial Fund Drive and moved to Washington, DC residing in House 9 on campus.

Polly worked in the Alumni Office for 23 years until she retired in 1986 but she didn't stop working. She became one of the most dedicated volunteers in the Alumni House, maintaining the alumni database and ensuring the addresses of alumni were as up to date as possible. She was known as a "walking alumni encyclopedia" to people associated with Gallaudet. Her volunteerism was so widely recognized and appreciated that in 1987, the Gallaudet University Alumni Association established the Pauline "Polly" Peikoff "Service to Others" Award. Every year on Charter Day, this award is presented to a deserving individual who best exemplifies the volunteer spirit that Polly exhibited in her long life.

In 1978 Polly and David became Honorary Chairpersons of the Alumni House Renovation project and raised over a million dollars to restore Ole Jim on the Gallaudet University campus and convert it to what is now know as the Peikoff Alumni House.

Polly is survived by two children, Joyce Meisegeier of Rockville, MD and Myrna Shannon of Los Angeles, CA, four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and an "extended family" that encompasses the world. Joyce and Richard Meisegeier will sit Shiva Thursday night, May 15 through Tuesday evening, May 20 at their home, 14416 Ash Court, Rockville, MD 20853. Phone: 301-460-3379. A memorial service will be held at a later date.