Donald Feigenbaum, Pittsfield innovator in business, dies at 87


PITTSFIELD -- Donald and Armand Feigenbaum were inseparable brothers.

The city natives graduated from Union College in Schenectady N.Y., albeit four years apart. Nearly 45 years ago, they co-founded an internationally recognized company in Pittsfield. Locally, the siblings also generously supported numerous nonprofits and cultural institutions including the Berkshire Museum, home of the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation.

"I don't believe I ever met one without the other," said Maria Mingalone, the museum's director of interpretation. Mingalone worked closely with the Feigenbaums in developing the exhibition space.

"The two of them lived life on their terms," added Leslie Warren, the Feigenbaums' personal secretary of 30 years.

On Tuesday, Donald, the youngest of the brothers, died of heart failure following a short stay at Berkshire Place nursing facility in Pittsfield, according to his attorney, Emil George. Feigenbaum was 87.

A funeral is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at Temple Anshe Amunim on Broad Street in Pittsfield. Flynn & Dagnoli-Bencivenga Funeral Home on Elm Street is in charge of the arrangements.

A 1946 alum of Union, Donald Feigenbaum was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of General Systems Co. located on South Street. His brother, in his early 90s, is company president, CEO and remains a Pittsfield resident.

Established in 1968, General Systems is an engineering firm that designs and installs operational systems for corporations worldwide.

The brothers published several books on management style and leadership in the 21st century, the most recent in August 2009 titled, "The Power of Management Innovation."

A year earlier, Armand received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation -- the nation's highest honor for technological achievement -- from President George W. Bush.

During a local celebration of Armand's award in October 2008, Donald Feigenbaum attributed the Berkshires as the nurturing source of inspiration for their innovative work.

"I think we were molded here, we had a great school system to help and a great support system," he said at the time. "Of all the places we have lived and traveled, there is no place like the Berkshires."

The Feigenbaums' most recognizable philanthropic effort was their $1.2 million contribution to the $10 million capital campaign toward renovating the Berkshire Museum. Completed in March 2008, the project included the creation of the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, designed to celebrate Berkshire County entrepreneurs whose innovations in science and technology and the arts have had a global impact.

"We all know this community is better off because of Donald, and Armand as well," said museum Executive Director Van Shields.

Donald Feigenbaum's personality also left a lasting impression on everyone he met, according to Mingalone.

"Donald had a quiet, very thoughtful sense of humor," she said. "I learned a lot from him."

To reach Dick Lindsay:,
or (413) 496-6233.


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