Ross Escalette

    Ross Escalette, who lived in East Hampton as a child and went on to found Brasstech, one of the largest American manufacturers of high-end plumbing products and accessories, died at home on Sept. 10 in Newport Beach, Calif., of what his family described as natural causes. He was 83.

    Sarah Jenkinson, the president of the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association, said Mr. Escalette was a true American success story. He was a visionary, she said, in that he saw a niche market that wasn’t being served and started manufacturing reasonably priced solid brass decorative faucets whose weight and quality rivaled their pricier counterparts.

    In 2002, Masco, one of the big-three American plumbing companies, acquired Brasstech, which Mr. Escalette had founded with his son, Geoffrey.

    Mr. Escalette was born in Greenport on Sept. 18, 1929, and grew up in East Hampton. He attended Tufts University, graduating in 1952 with a degree in economics. After college, he joined the commercial research division of Stanley Works. After serving in the Army, he returned to Stanley Works, becoming its marketing manager in the building products division.

    From there, he worked with several metalworking and hardware companies. In 1977, he became an importer of brass bathroom hardware, and later the vice president and general manager of Auburn Brass.

    Once retired, Mr. Escalette involved himself with nonprofit organizations. In California, he was the director of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana and Coachella Valley. For eight years he served as chairman of the board of Hidden Harvest in Coachella, which reclaims food from farm fields and packing houses that would have otherwise gone to waste and provides it to those in need. 

    He was a trustee and governor at Chapman University, where he and his wife underwrote the university’s art collection, and a trustee of the Palm Springs Art Museum.

    Along with his nonprofit work, Mr. Escalette kept a hand in the world of business. He served on the boards of four companies and became treasurer of Escalette LLC, a decorative-hardware company he and his son founded in 2012 after acquiring Phylrich, a maker of faucet parts.

    Mr. Escalette is survived by his wife of 54 years, Phyllis Escalette, and their three children, Geoffrey, Phillip, and Suzanne, all of Orange County, Calif. Six grandchildren also survive.