Ross Escalette of Newport Beach, California, formerly of East Hampton, died at his home on September 10. He was 82.
Mr. Escalette was born in Greenport and grew up in East Hampton. He graduated from Tufts University in Massachusetts with a degree in economics in 1952 and joined Stanley Works in their commercial research division. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to Stanley to become marketing manager of the building products division. From there he was vice president with several metalworking and builders hardware companies. In 1977 he became an importer of brass bathroom hardware, which was acquired by Amerock Corporation, with Mr. Escalette becoming vice president and general manager of the newly formed Auburn Brass. In 1986, along with his son, Geoffrey, and the rest of his family, he founded Brasstech/Newport Brass, which grew to become one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of high-end plumbing products and accessories. Masco acquired that company in 2002.
In retirement, Mr. Escalette became heavily involved with nonprofit organizations. He was the director of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana and Coachella Valley. He was a trustee and governor at Chapman University, where he and his wife, Phyllis, underwrote the university art collection, now known as the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Art Collection at Chapman. He was a trustee of the Palm Springs and Palm Desert Art Museum. He also served as chairman of the board of Hidden Harvest of Coachella for eight years.
Along with his interest in nonprofits, Mr. Escalette never left the business scene. He served on the boards of four companies and was treasurer of his son Geoffrey’s new company Escalette LLC, which took them back into the decorative hardware business when they acquired the Phylrich brand in 2012.
Mr. Escalette is survived by his wife of 54 years, Phyllis; two sons, Geoffrey and Phillip; and daughter, Suzanne; as well as six grandchildren.