The founder of Chick-Fil-A, whose orthodox views on marriage made his family and his business a figure of hate on the left, has passed away.
S. Truett Cathy, the billionaire founder of the privately held Chick-fil-A restaurant chain that famously closes on Sundays but also drew unwanted attention on gay marriage in recent years because of his family’s conservative views, died early Monday, a company spokesman said. He was 93.
Chick-fil-A spokesman Mark Baldwin told The Associated Press that Cathy died at home surrounded by members of his family. The company said in a statement that preliminary plans are for a public funeral service at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Jonesboro in Jonesboro, Georgia.
Cathy built Chick-Fil-A up from nothing in the post-war years. He always observed the sabbath, keeping all of the chain’s hundreds of stores closed on Sundays so workers could rest or go to church.
Cathy always gave substantially to church and charity, mainly through the WinShape Foundation, yet became a figure of hate on the left when his son, Dan, stated his opinion that marriage is between one man and one woman. That hatred led to a boycott of Chick-Fil-A, to Democrats trying to block the restaurants from doing business in Chicago and Boston, and also to the chain’s highest revenues ever.
Truett Cathy never retired from a job that he loved, and never retired from his charitable work. He set Chick-Fil-A up to remain in the family, and never to go public.