Truett Cathy, the founder and owner of Chick-fil-A, has died at the age of 93 of natural causes.
Best known for founding the popular fried chicken restaurant Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy passed away on September 8 of natural causes at the age of 93. Truett was equally well-known for his controversial views on Christianity as they related to his business practices. He was surrounded by family at the time of his death.
Truett Cathy Dead At 93: Chick-fil-A Founder & Owner Dies Of Natural Causes
The first Chick-fil-A opened its doors in 1967 after Truett had been in the fast food business for 21 years. Their flagship menu item, the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, is its most popular and recognizable item and has helped the business grow to a reported $5 billion in annual sales.
A devout Southern Baptist, Truett applied his religious beliefs to his business practices. Chick-fil-A has always been closed on Sundays, and he told Decision magazine in 2004 that while his employees don’t need to be Christian to work for him, they need to “stick to the Scriptures in business decisions.”
Truett is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeannette Cathy, his three children Don, Dan and Trudy, 18 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren. He wrote five books and was a dedicated philanthropist, founding the WinShape Foundation in 1984.
Truett Cathy & Dan Cathy: Their Controversial Views On Gay Marriage
It has never been a secret that Chick-fil-A has operated under Christian beliefs, but the chain came under fire in 2012 following some fairly controversial statements about gay marriage.
While many attributed the controversial statements about gay marriage to Truett, it was Dan Cathy, also president of the company, who said in July 2012:
“As it relates to society in general, I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”
His comments prompted boycotts and “kiss-in” protests in which same-sex couples would visit Chick-fil-A and, well, kiss. Said one protestor to CNN at the time, “We share some of the same kind of values. I think it would open [Dan Cathy’s] eyes to understand that just because we are a lesbian couple, we’re really not any different than him and Mrs. Cathy.”
However, while it was indeed Dan who made the controversial statements, Truett’s hands were not necessarily clean, either: through WinShape, $5 million has been donated to anti-gay groups since 2003, according to Business Insider.
Our thoughts go out to the Cathy family during this difficult time.
— Amanda Mitchell