The life of Colonel Sanders is, of course, most famously remembered for his Kentucky Fried Chicken empire.
While the Colonel certainly was proud of his restaurant chain success, his greatest joy came more than 10 years after he established the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in 1952.
For Harland David Sanders, life only got better with age. He didn’t start his KFC business until he was 65 years old — refusing to believe he was too old to pursue such an endeavor.
Sanders was 89 years old when he gave his final interview, speaking of his business, his thoughts on generosity, and his Christian faith. He died one year after the below 1979 interview.
MOSMAN – 1976Colonel Sanders visits Kentucky Fried Chicken with his secret herbs and spices.[Photo courtesy Gary Graham]
For most of his life, the Colonel explained, he knew he needed to devote his life to Jesus Christ, but often shoved the notion aside.
It wasn’t until he was 77 years old that he finally accepted Christ, calling it “the greatest experience I’ve had in my 89 years of life.”
Sanders urged his viewers, especially the older ones, to accept Christ before it was too late.
“I’m greatly concerned for a lot of the older people,” the Colonel confessed, worried they were waiting too long, and adding that nobody knows how many years they have left.
As he looked back on his lifetime of work, the Colonel acknowledged that no amount of good works would get him into heaven. Only having God in your heart, said the Colonel, would assure him of salvation.
Sanders moved on to talk about wealth, and his desire to steward God’s money well. Sanders started a non-profit, the KFC Foundation, aimed at improving the lives of KFC employees and their families.
The KFC Foundation focuses on providing financial assistance for employees looking to further their education. If the goal is to get a GED, attend college, or pursue vocational or trade education, the KFC Foundation wants to help.
In addition, the foundation offers funds to families experiencing a particular crisis or hardship.
Sanders’ foundation also helps employees learn healthy money management skills, a valuable tool with lifelong benefits.
The Colonel believed the very reason God allowed his business to prosper was to utilize his wealth for the benefit of others. The Colonel fully embraced the adage, “you can’t take it with you.”
“No use being the richest man in the cemetery,” Colonel Sanders said, as his interviewers chuckled. “Cause you can’t do any business in there.”