Truett Cathy poses with his classic car collection. (photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A)

ATLANTA – S. Truett Cathy, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Chick-fil-A, died Sept. 8. He was 93 years old.

He was born March 14, 1921, in Eatonton, Ga. He attended Boys High in Atlanta; the school is now known as Grady High School. In 1946, Cathy built a small diner in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville that he later developed into Chick-fil-A.

Cathy created the original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, and from that tiny diner, he built one of the largest family owned companies in the nation with annual sales of $5 billion in 2013. Currently, there are more than 1,800 Chick-fil-A restaurants in 40 states and Washington, DC. Cathy's oldest son, Dan, became president of Chick-fil-A in 2001 and chairman and CEO in 2013. Truett Cathy remained chairman emeritus until his death. Chick-fil-A will remain a privately held company.

Cathy was a devout Southern Baptist who taught Sunday school for more than 50 years. In addition to his community service, Cathy received numerous awards and honors for his philanthropy and business achievements, including the Ernst & Young — Entrepreneur of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and the Horatio Alger Award in 1989.

He also was the author of five books, and co-author of The Generosity Factor with Ken Blanchard.

Cathy is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeannette McNeil Cathy; sons Dan and Don "Bubba" Cathy; daughter Trudy Cathy White; 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.