Chris Pendergast, Who Fought A.L.S. Mile After Mile, Dies at 71

In addition to his wife, Christine (Martin) Pendergast, a past president of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association on Long Island, he is survived by a son, Christopher, who is known as Buddy; a daughter, Melissa Scriven; and a grandson.

Mr. Pendergast and his wife chronicled the family’s collaborative effort to confront A.L.S. in a book, “Blink Spoken Here: Tales From a Journey to Within,” which was published this year. The title comes from the eye-tracker computer that uses infrared light to substitute for oral speech when patients lose their voice.

After retiring from teaching in 2003, Mr. Pendergast often made public appearances, including a visit to Northport High School last February, to extol the power of perseverance when confronting adversity.

In 2005, when he spoke to elementary students at a school on East 103rd Street in Manhattan, across from Gehrig’s birthplace, “you could hear a pin drop,” Christine Pendergast said.

Gehrig, Mr. Pendergast told The Times in 2009, “taught me that the human spirit can transcend any affliction. I am now a quadriplegic, using a feeding tube and an external ventilator for part of the day. But with Lou as a model, I still feel I have an