boston.com your connection to The Boston Globe

Woolrich CEO Roswell Brayton Jr. dies after collapsing

WOOLRICH, Pa. --Roswell Brayton Jr., the president and CEO of Woolrich Inc. who guided the clothing company into new retail areas such as outdoors products, home furnishings and even bottled water, has died. He was 55.

Brayton collapsed Monday at Woolrich's headquarters and was rushed to Jersey Shore Hospital, but could not be revived, company marketing director Tim Joseph said Tuesday in a statement.

Brayton, a majority owner of the privately-held company, was a sixth-generation member of the Rich family, which founded the company in 1830. He grew up in Woolrich and joined the company in 1977, becoming president in 1996 and CEO the following year.

Colleagues said that Brayton led Woolrich through some of the most dramatic changes in the company's history. Woolrich expanded into international and domestic licensing, and launched new businesses over mail order and the Internet. Woolrich home furnishings and bottled water also took hold during his tenure.

"Everyone at Woolrich is dealing with the sudden loss of an active and vibrant president," Joseph said.

Brayton was born May 8, 1951 in Fall River, Mass, and moved to Woolrich with his family two years later. After graduating from Harvard University in 1973, Brayton was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 10th round that year and spent four years playing professional baseball before returning to Woolrich.

Brayton is survived by his wife, Sally, seven children and two sisters. Funeral services will held Thursday in Williamsport, and burial will be Saturday in Fall River.

------

Information from: The Express, http://www.lockhaven.com

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES