by Karen Alberg Grossman
RALPH BRUMMETT (L) with Tony Maddox

MR is saddened to report the passing last week of Ralph Brummett, a 50-year menswear veteran who spent almost 20 years with Individualized Apparel Group, first as sales director for the Aquascutum license and then as President of H. Freeman. Brummett, who suffered a heart attack at his home in New Braunfels, Texas, was 73.

Joe Blair, chairman of Individualized Apparel Group, notes that Brummett’s passing came as a shock to all those at the company. “Ralph was a natural seller. He had tremendous passion for the art of selling and was a devotee of product. He had a superb taste level. We did countless trunk shows together over the years and retailers loved having him in the store. Ralph especially enjoyed meeting and working with the consumer. He loved a good joke, a great story and most of all, he loved people. He was good natured, warm hearted, considerate and kind. He will be sorely missed, both personally and professionally.”

Adds Donna Utz-Falcone, CFO of IAG/Tom James, “It was a day of full of tears at the factory when this unfortunate news arrived. We loved Ralph with all our hearts. Ralph loved his work and building relationships.”

Retailer Sam Malouf had just seen him at his store in California. “The Malouf family has worked with Ralph since the days of Damon shirts. He always had a smile on his face, was always well-dressed, and always a gentleman.” Adds Tony Maddox, a retailer friend from Houston, “Uncle Ralph was a great boss, a compassionate mentor, funny jokester and all-around wonderful person.” Elton Salinas, who owns a number of men’s stores in Las Vegas, notes: “Ralph was a good friend: a warm guy with a huge sense of humor. I will miss him.”

John Minahan, a long-time industry colleague, expressed the sadness and shock felt by so many in the industry. “I was so looking forward to hugging him in Chicago. I am truly heartbroken.” Adds menswear colleague Jeffrey Roberts, “I loved that man—the definition of a mensch!” And from David Dumont, who worked with Brummett at IAG, “Ralph was our fearless leader for H. Freeman, an original legend, and oh how he made us laugh! Ralph: May you rest in peace, with your tape measure draped around your neck, ready for the next client.”

Brummett is survived by his wife Jane, his daughter and her husband Richie Hare, and two beloved grandsons Tripp and Colt. A memorial service will be held in early August.