S. Truett Cathy
|S. Truett Cathy|
Cathy on August 28, 2004
|Born||Samuel Truett Cathy
March 14, 1921
Eatonton, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||September 8, 2014
Clayton County, Georgia, U.S.
|Alma mater||Henry W. Grady High School Anderson University SC|
|Known for||Founder and former chairman of Chick-fil-A|
|Net worth||$4.2 billion (2012)|
|Spouse(s)||Jeannette (McNeil) Cathy(1948–2014; his death)|
Samuel Truett Cathy (March 14, 1921 – September 8, 2014), was an American entrepreneur who founded the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A.
Cathy was born on March 14, 1921 in Eatonton, Georgia, the son of Lilla James (née Kimball) and Joseph Benjamin Cathy. He attended Boys High School (now Henry W. Grady High School) in Atlanta. Cathy served in the United States Army during World War II. Cathy began the chain in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville in 1946 with a restaurant called the Dwarf Grill, named because of its small size. It was there that he, along with his brother and business partner Ben, created the chicken sandwich that later became the signature menu item for Chick-fil-A. The original restaurant (since renamed Dwarf House) is still in operation and the company operates other Dwarf House locations in the metro Atlanta area. He married Jeannette and had three children: Trudy, Don "Bubba", and Dan.
Cathy was a member of the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia, and taught Sunday School there for more than 50 years. He said that the Bible is his guide-book for life. Due to his strong religious beliefs, all of the company's locations, whether company-owned or franchised, are closed on Sundays to allow its employees to attend church and spend time with their families. This policy began when Cathy was working six days a week, multiple shifts. He decided to close on Sundays.
Cathy wrote five books: the autobiography Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, a motivational book entitled It's Easier to Succeed Than to Fail, the parenting book It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men, an explanation of his business success in How Did You Do It, Truett?, and a final book on the significance of money in today's society titled Wealth, Is It Worth It?. He also contributed to the anthologies What My Parents Did Right and Conversations on Success, and co-wrote with Ken Blanchard Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure. A portion of Jonesboro and McDonough Roads in Henry, and Clayton counties, respectively, are named in his honor. Cathy said that the motivational book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was one of the greatest foundations for inspiration growing up.
S. Truett Cathy died at his home on September 8, 2014 of natural causes at the age of 93. The family held a public funeral service on Wednesday, September 10 at First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, Georgia.
His widow, Jeannette Cathy, died in 2015 at age 92.
Philanthropy and political contributions
Cathy was closely involved with the sponsorship of the college football bowl game now known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but from 1997-2005 known as the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and prior to that simply as the Peach Bowl. On October 28, 2006, Cathy received the last vehicle off the assembly line of Ford's Atlanta plant, in recognition of a 60-year relationship between him and the plant. The plant, located near Cathy's original Dwarf Grill (now Dwarf House), opened one year after the restaurant opened, and Truett regularly served during all three shifts at the plant.
Cathy had a Leadership Scholarship program for Chick-fil-A restaurant employees, which has awarded more than $23 million in $1,000 scholarships in the past 35 years. In 1984, Cathy established the WinShape Foundation, named for its mission to shape winners. In addition, Cathy fostered children for more than 30 years. He received the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership in 2008.
Honors and memberships
Cathy received numerous honors, including membership in Omicron Delta Kappa (OΔK), the National Leadership Honor Society. He received OΔK's highest award, the Laurel Crowned Circle Award in 2009. He also received the Norman Vincent and Ruth Stafford Peale Humanitarian Award, the Horatio Alger Award, the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, and the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award. Cathy was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2003.
Cathy was inducted into the Indiana Wesleyan University Society of World Changers on April 3, 2011. In addition to being inducted into the Society, the university conferred upon Cathy an honorary doctorate of business. In May 2012, Cathy received an honorary doctorate along with presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Liberty University's spring commencement ceremony. In his remarks, Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at the time, said, "The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A. Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and heaven knows there were days that we needed a lot of comfort." Romney congratulated Cathy on his "well-deserved honor today".
In 2013, he was inducted as a Georgia Trustee. The honor is given by the Georgia Historical Society, in conjunction with the Governor of Georgia, to individuals whose accomplishments and community service reflect the ideals of the founding body of Trustees, which governed the Georgia colony from 1732 to 1752.
- Cathy, S. Truett (2010), Wealth, Is It Worth It?, Looking Glass Books, ISBN 1929619405
- —— (2007), How Did You Do It, Truett?: A Recipe for Success, Looking Glass Press, ISBN 1929619332
- —— (2004), It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men, Looking Glass Books, ISBN 1929619200
- —— (2002), Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, Looking Glass Books, ISBN 1-929619-08-1
- —— (1989), It's Easier to Succeed Than to Fail, Thomas Nelson Inc., ISBN 0840790309
- "The World's Billionaires (2012): #960 S. Truett Cathy". Forbes. September 1, 2012.
- Wolfe, Julie (September 8, 2014). "Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy dies at 93". WXIA. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Arnold, Laurence (September 8, 2014). "S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A's Faith-Driven Founder, Dies at 93". Bloomberg.
- The Cathy Family. "Cathy Family website". Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Cathy, S. Truett, It's Easier To Succeed Than Fail, Oliver-Nelson Books (1989); ISBN 0-8407-9030-9.
- "Chick-fil-A's Closed-on-Sunday Policy" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Cathy, S. Truett Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, 2002. Looking Glass Books; ISBN 1-929619-08-1.
- Guy Collier, Joe (2008-04-25). "Chick-fil-A founder opens pizza restaurant". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- "Chick-Fil-A Founder Retiring As CEO, Chairman". CBS Atlanta. Associated Press. November 7, 2013.
- "Chick-Fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy Has Died". ABC News. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Death of S.T. Cathy". ABC News. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Staff (September 8, 2014). "S. Truett Cathy In Memoriam". CFA Properties Inc. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Truett Cathy Obituary" (PDF). The Cathy Family. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Find a Grave profle for S. Truett Cathy
- Jeannette Cathy, widow of S. Truett Cathy, dies at age 92
- "2008 Simon Prize Recipient". Philanthropy Roundtable. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
- "Samuel Truett Cathy Philanthropy". Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Chick-fil-A Founder to Receive Award for Service to Youth". The Weekly Online!. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2011-12-02.[dead link]
- "Silver Buffalo Awards". Scouting: 37. September 2007. ISSN 0036-9500. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Prominent Pikes". pike.org. Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Forbes 400 Richest Americans (2007): #380 S Truett Cathy". Forbes. September 20, 2007.
Net worth: $1.3 billion
- "The World's Billionaires (2007): #799 S Truett Cathy". Forbes. March 9, 2007.
Net worth: $4.5 billion
- "S. Truett Cathy applauded by President Bush". Atlanta Business Chronicle. April 16, 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- O'Connor, Clare, "Romney Speaks At Anti-Gay Liberty University Alongside Baptist Billionaire", Forbes blog, May 12, 2012; retrieved 2012-05-12.
- "Honorary Degrees Awarded by Oglethorpe University". Oglethorpe University. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
- Chick-fil-A website; accessed September 8, 2014.
- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans: S. Truett Cathy; accessed September 8, 2014.
- Serving with a Smile: Meet S. Truett Cathy, Winner of the 2008 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership