S. Truett Cathy, the humble businessman who turned a lunch stand into the billion-dollar fast food chain Chick-Fil-A, and whose personal religious beliefs often drew controversy that attached itself to the business, has died.
Cathy died at his Atlanta-area home surrounded by family and friends at 1:35 A.M. Monday morning at 93, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As of this post, Mr. Cathy’s cause of death has not been revealed.
The company’s website is currently a memorial to Mr. Cathy.
Grieving the loss of our founder Truett Cathy, who passed away today. Please keep the Cathys in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/6LnjkysI8l
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) September 8, 2014
At the helm of Chick-Fil-A, S. Truett Cathy refused to let the demands of business interfere with his evangelical Christian principles. Most famously, he closed the business on Sundays, to allow employees to have a “day of rest,” according to Biblical principles, according to CBS News. To business observers, Mr. Cathy’s decision seemed like business suicide, but he would not be swayed.
“If it took seven days to make a living with a restaurant, then we needed to be in some other line of work.”
In 2012, Chick-Fil-A and the Cathy family found themselves unwittingly at the center of a nationwide controversy over gay rights, when Trutt’s son Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that he was “guilty as charged” for his views on “the Biblical definition of family,” according to this Inquisitr report. Later reports would indicate that the Cathy family had given money to “anti-gay” organizations. The supposed “anti-gay” stance of Chick-Fil-A led to boycotts of the organization by gay rights supporters, as well as “buycotts” by the company’s fervent supporters. The controversy has since subsided.
S. Truett Cathy was born March 14, 1921, in crushing poverty outside of Atlanta, and grew up during the worst of the Great Depression. He got his start in business as a small boy, buying six-packs of Coca Cola bottles for a quarter each, then selling bottles chilled in ice in front of his home for a nickel each, netting him five cents profit for each six-pack, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After returning home from World War II, Truett opened the Dwarf Grill in Hapeville (an Atlanta suburb), serving burgers and fried chicken to workers at a nearby Ford plant. While working at the Dwarf Grill, Truett came up with the formula for a fried chicken sandwich that would essentially become the cornerstone of the Chick-Fil-A empire.
The company has asked that, in lieu of flowers, supporters make a donation to the WinShape Foundation in Mr. Truett’s honor.
As of this post, arrangements for S. Truett Cathy’s funeral have not been revealed.
[Image courtesy of: Huffington Post]