truett cathy

Truett Cathy, the man who built a respected fast food Chick-fil-A empire based on “the original chicken sandwich,” then used his vast wealth to help employees achieve their college dreams and gave homes to foster children, has passed away. He was 93.

Local, regional and national dignitaries all paid homage to the business magnate and construction baron who was deeply religious, attended Sunday School Gov. Nathan Deal’s office tweeted a photo of Cathy with the governor, who called him a “GA legend” in the tweet.

“He will be missed,” the governor said in the message.

University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt also took to Twitter to offer his condolences to Cathy’s family while honoring the life he lived.

“One of the truly great Americans passed away,” Richt tweeted. “Truett Cathy a true man of God. An awesome husband father citizen.”

The fast food giant’s funeral will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, where his family has attended church for years.

Other officials took to Twitter and Facebook as well to offer their condolences. Those offering tributes to Cathy included U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), U.S. Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue, World Changers Church International Senior Pastor Creflo Dollar former U.S. Speaker of House and ex-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and Morehouse College officials.

“His life was a fine example of service and hard work,” said Isakson.

“Truett Cathy was a remarkable leader in business and in life,” Gingrich added. “He was a devoted Christian, family man and entrepreneur.”

Samuel Truett Cathy launched the chain that would become Chick-fil-A out of a “Dwarf House” diner in Hapeville, Ga., a small town straddling the southern edge of Atlanta.

Cathy had been a fixture in the Atlanta area since he opened his first “Dwarf House” diner in Hapeville in 1946. Another location opened not too long afterward in nearby Forest Park. That budding chain of restaurants eventually grew into Chick-fil-A, the company said.

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