Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy died early Monday at his home, he was 93. The privately held and family-owned restaurant chain is famous for closing every Sundays so that employees could attend worship services.
Cathy was a devout Southern Baptist who taught Sunday school to 13-year-old boys for more than 50 years. His key Bible verse was Proverbs 22:1: "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold."
He was often quoted as saying: "I'd like to be remembered as one who kept my priorities in the right order. We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed. I have always encouraged my restaurant operators and team members to give back to the local community. We should be about more than just selling chicken; we should be a part of our customers' lives and the communities in which we serve."
Rick Warren, founder and pastor of Saddleback Church in California, described Cathy "was a giant of a man in so many ways: a godly man, a wise husband and father, a business genius, a creative innovator, a humble... servant of Jesus Christ with rock-ribbed integrity, a generous philanthropist, and one who loved greatly, cared deeply for the poor, especially disadvantaged kids, and used his life and work to benefit others."
"Truett was a man truly who lived his faith, welcoming the homeless into his own home, improving the lives of thousands of disadvantaged kids, and giving them help and hope. Even after becoming a billionaire CEO, Truett continued to teach his weekly Sunday School class for 50 years. One of the five books he wrote summed up his attitude toward helping young boys in trouble: "It's Better To Build Boys Than Mend Men." Warren wrote on his Facebook page.
The chicken chain that Cathy started in an Atlanta suburb in 1946 grew to more than 1,800 restaurants in 39 states and the nation's capital, according to the company's website. Nearly 50 years after opening the Chick-fil-A restaurant, the company now boasts more than $5 billion in annual sales and recently surpassed KFC to become the top chicken fast food chain in the U.S.