Colonel Sanders Net Worth and Unwavering Legacy that Continues

By | November 11, 2023

Colonel Harland David Sanders, aka Colonel Sanders, is the man you see on the KFC logo. He is the man who started Kentucky Fried Chicken from his roadside restaurant to a giant business in this era. From Colonel Sanders net worth to his early life, everything about him is an inspiration for everyone.

To find out more about his life, relationship, and business journey, here is what can help!

NameColonel Harland David Sanders
ProfessionBusinessman, Restaurateur
Known ForKentucky Fried Chicken ( founder)
Years active1930 - 1980 b
DOBSeptember 9, 1890
BornHenryville, Indiana US
DiedDecember 16, 1980
Resting placeCave Hill Cemetery, Louisville
ParentsWilbur David Sanders, Margaret Ann Dunlevy
SiblingsCatherine, Clarence
Spouse(s)Josephine King (m 1909, div 1949), Claudia Price (m 1949)

Childhood and early life

On September 9, 1890, Harland David Sanders, famously known as Colonel Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana. He was the oldest of three siblings born to Wilbur David and Margaret Ann Sanders.

Harland’s father worked on his 80-acre farm, but then he broke his leg. Wilbur was a mild and affectionate person. But after the accident, he had to work as a butcher for two years. Sander’s mother was Irish and of Dutch descent; she was devoted to Christianity. His mother grew up in a strict household with rules.

After Sander’s father passed away in 1895, his mother switched to work in a tomato cannery. During this time, Sanders stepped in to look after his siblings and cook for them.

When Colonel Sanders was young, he was skilled in his cooking, including vegetables, bread, and meat. In 1899, Sanders’s mother married Edward Park. But in 1900, her second husband died as well. At the age of 10, Sander started to work as a farmhand.

After two unfortunate marriages, Sander’s mother remarried in 1902 to William Broaddus, and they moved to Greenwood.  Sander’s relationship with his stepfather had lots of ups and downs.

When he turned 12, Sanders left his school and started to work on the farm. He even left his home and took a job painting the horse carriages. Sanders moved to southern Indiana at the age of 14.

Colonel Sanders Net Worth and Unwavering Legacy that Continues


To understand more about Colonel Sanders net worth, let’s first find out about his career highlights. However, KFC founder Sanders worked in different odd jobs at an early age.  He started his employment as a conductor in 1906 in New Albany, Indiana.

Apart from this, He worked as a wagoner for the US army in Cuba, even though it was for a brief period. At 16 years old, Sanders secured a job with the railway as a pan cleaner. Throughout his early career, he worked multiple jobs, including fireman and blacksmith.

Multiple works and the beginning of KFC

In 1910, Sanders switched to Norfolk and started to work in Western Railway. There, he met his wife for the first time.

But after a while, Sanders moved to Henryville with his mother. He started in multiple works as a salesman, worker, and insurance agent.

In 1920, Sanders founded his ferry boat business, one of his most successful ventures. He earned around $22,000 in selling his business. He was offered the secretary job at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce in Indiana.

After the ferry boat, Sanders decided to do an acetylene light manufacturing business.  In 1930, Shell Oil company offered him a service station located in Kentucky. Sanders then switched to selling different kinds of foods, including chicken.

He started to sell fried chicken in North Corbin during The Great Depression. In the beginning, he was selling it from a roadside restaurant.  During those days, he used a pressure fryer, but the concept had the potential. Even after his first restaurant closed, he devoted himself to making it work and spread across the country.

The business started to grow and became successful. It became such a big thing that Governor Ruby Laffron named Sanders a Kentucky colonel.

kfc chicken owner

Revealing Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe

In 1952,  Sanders revealed his recipe to make KFC to some more prominent eateries. However, it was limited to a specific area, but within the first year, it made sales more than triple.

Then, the idea accelerated to a higher level, turning it into a franchise with owners of restaurants and eateries. In return for sharing his top-secret recipe, Sanders received a huge amount of compensation.

Taking it further, Sanders and his wife targeted the headquarters in Shelbyville in 1959. They opened their first food business on a global level, including locations in the UK, Jamaica, Mexico, etc.

Sanders patented this recipe in 1962 and registered KFC’s famous tagline It’s Finger Lickin ‘ Good as an official tagline.

Personal life and relationship

Colonel Sanders married twice in his life.  Colonel Sanders age was 18 at that time when he married Josephine in 1980. However, their marriage didn’t start well and went through a set of highs and lows.

After a while, Sanders lost his job on the railroad, which caused major issues in his marriage life. According to reports, Josephine left Sanders and took their kids as she didn’t want to live with someone who couldn’t hold a job.

Sanders is also famous for being a womanizer. He was in a relationship with Claudia at the time of Sanders’s first marriage.

As per reports, Sander’s first wife had no interest in a physical relationship after having three children. Because of this, Sanders decided to find another partner that could satisfy his desires.

After his divorce in 1947, Sanders married Claudia in 1949. She previously worked as a waitress at Sanders Cafe and was divorced with two children. Claudia also was a KFC employee.

Sanders credits his second wife for building his empire. As per his interview,  without Claudia, they couldn’t do what he did.

She actively participated in each step, from sleeping in cars while they waited to do sales pitches to promoting national tours. She was considered instrumental to Sander’s company.

Colonel Sanders children

Sanders had three kids, Harland Jr, Mildred Ruggles, and Margaret, from his first wife, Josephine King.

In 1932, Harland Jr died from infected tonsils. However, Sanders married his secretary Claudia, but even after the marriage, the couple didn’t have any children.

Colonel Sanders net worth

As per the report, at the time of his death, Colonel Sanders net worth was around $3.5 million. From his business career for accumulating impressive wealth on his own, he also had 48 nations that owned KFC franchises.

Before he died, the KFC founder used his stock holdings to establish Colonel Harland Sanders’s Charitable Organization. It has a registration with a Canadian charity.

To honor his donation, The wing of Mississauga named it The Colonel Harland Sanders Family Care Centre.

Sander Foundation donated to children’s hospitals in Canada, including Stollery Children’s Hospital, McMaster Children’s Hospital, IWK Health Centre, etc.

Colonel Sanders cause of death

Colonel Sanders death shocked his fans and followers. The news broke on December 16, 1980, that Sanders was no more.

Sander’s health was deteriorating because of acute leukemia. He was diagnosed in the same year of his death, but he refused to take a break.  Even after the diagnosis, he worked until the month before Sanders died. He used to appear in white suits to the crowd and work as usual.

Colonel Sanders took his last breath at Louisville Jewish Hospital. He had pneumonia, and after getting treatments for six months, Sanders died at the age of 90.

After his death, the body was laid in state in the Kentucky State Capitol, situated in Frankfort. More than 500 people attended his funeral at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

His body was also displayed in an open casket during his memorial service. It was held at the headquarters of KFC in Louisville. The service had 1000 to 1200 people as attendees. After his service, Sander was buried in his white suit and a black western string tie in a cemetery situated in Cave Hill.

At the time of his death, it was estimated that Sanders had 6000 KFC outlets in 48 different countries, along with $2 billion in annual sales.

Final Thoughts

Colonel Sanders was ranked as the second most-recognized celebrity in 1976. He started the company but later became the brand ambassador and symbol of KFC. Sanders’s journey also included countless ads and TV appearances.

Sanders made his name from a struggling life to one of the most successful people in business to date. The KFC founder story is a great inspiration to people and new entrepreneurs.


1. When did Colonel Sanders start the KFC business?

Colonel Sanders started KFC in 1930 at the age of 40 but officially founded it at the age of 62. The business started from a roadside motel in Corbin that he bought.

2. How many colonels sold KFC?

Colonel sold his business to group investors Jack C. Massey and John Y. Brown for $2 million.

3. Who was the wife of Colonel Sanders?

Colonel married twice; he first married Josephine King in 1909 and Claudia Price in 1948 after his divorce from the King.

5. Who were Colonel Sanders’s kids?

Colonel Sanders had three kids from his first marriage, including Harland, Margaret, and Mildred.

6. How many KFC outlets are in the world?

There are more than 25000 KFC outlets across 147 countries and territories.

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