The brains behind the flamingo dies

Don Featherstone died yesterday in his (and my) hometown of Fitchburg, Mass. He was 79 and suffered from Lewy body disease, a type of dementia.

You probably don’t recognize the name. But you will most likely recognize what he gave the world.


AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Featherstone was an art major who worked as a designer at a plastics factory when he struck gold — pink, actually — with the flamingo design. It was his second assignment.

He designed it with the idea that in the post-war world, people needed a way to recognize their home within the cookie-cutter world of the housing development.

“You had to mark your house somehow,” Featherstone told Smithsonian Magazine. “A woman could pick up a flamingo at the store and come home with a piece of tropical elegance under her arm to change her humdrum house.”

Also, it was pretty, his wife, Nancy said.

Artist Don Featherstone, 1996 Ig Nobel Prize winner and creator of the plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament, poses with his Nancy while being honored as a past recipient during a performance at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. The Ig Nobel prize is an award handed out by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine for silly sounding scientific discoveries that often have surprisingly practical applications. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Featherstone kept a flock of 57 pink flamingos in his yard.

Disney’s 2011 film “Gnomeo & Juliet” featured a pink lawn flamingo named “Featherstone” in his honor.