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Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders was an American entrepreneur who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). His image is omnipresent in the chain's advertising and packaging, and his name is sometimes used as a synonym for the KFC product or restaurant itself. Sanders was born to a Presbyterian family in Henryville, Indiana. His father, Wilbur David Sanders, died when Harland was five years old, and—since his mother worked—he was required to cook for his family. He dropped out of school in seventh grade. When his mother remarried he ran away from home because his stepfather beat him. During his early years, Sanders worked many jobs, including steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman, farmer, and enlisted in the Army as a private when he was only 16 years old (by lying about his age), spending his entire service commitment in Cuba. At the age of 40, Sanders cooked chicken dishes and other meals for people who stopped at his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his living quarters in the service station. His local popularity grew, and Sanders moved to a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people and worked as the chef. Over the next nine years, he developed his method of cooking chicken. Furthermore, he made use of a pressure fryer that allowed the chicken to be cooked much faster than by pan frying. He was given the honorary title "Kentucky Colonel" in 1935 by Governor Ruby Laffoon. Sanders chose to call himself "Colonel" and to dress in a stereotypical "Southern gentleman" style as a way of self-promotion. After the construction of Interstate 75 reduced his restaurant's customer traffic, Sanders took to franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, starting at age 65, using $105 from his first Social Security check to fund visits to potential franchisees. Sanders died in Louisville, Kentucky, of pneumonia on December 16, 1980. He had been diagnosed with acute leukemia the previous June. His body lay in state in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol; after a funeral service at the Southern Baptist Seminary Chapel attended by more than 1,000 people, he was buried in his characteristic white suit and black western string tie in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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