Mildred Sanders Ruggles: A Legacy of Entrepreneurship and Hospitality



Mildred Marie Sanders Ruggles, born on August 15, 1919, in Jeffersonville, Clark County, Indiana, USA, left an indelible mark on the business world and the culinary landscape. As the daughter of Colonel Harland Sanders, the iconic founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurants, Mildred Sanders Ruggles played a pivotal role in shaping the success and growth of her family’s businesses. In this article, we will explore Mildred Sanders Ruggles’ net worth and delve into her contributions to the KFC franchise and the Ruggles Sign Company.

Early Life and Marriage

Mildred Sanders Ruggles was the youngest of three children born to Colonel Harland Sanders and his wife. Growing up in a family deeply involved in the food industry, Mildred developed a passion for the business from an early age. She attended Saint Camillus Academy in Corbin, where she received her education.

On her 18th birthday in 1937, Mildred Sanders married John F. Ruggles Jr., the founder of the Ruggles Sign Company based in Versailles. Together, they embarked on a journey that would solidify their place as successful entrepreneurs and pillars of the business community.

Contributions to KFC Franchise

Mildred Sanders Ruggles’ dedication to the KFC franchise was instrumental in its expansion and success. In the late 1950s, she traveled extensively across the United States and Canada with her father, Colonel Sanders, imparting his renowned chicken-cooking techniques to KFC franchisees. As the owners played a vital role in maintaining the quality and consistency of the Colonel’s famous recipe, Mildred ensured they were well-trained and adept at preparing chicken “the Colonel’s way.”

Recognized for her warm Southern hospitality, Mildred Sanders Ruggles embodied the spirit of KFC’s brand and values. Her genuine love for people, combined with her exceptional hosting skills, made her a beloved figure within the KFC community. Mildred’s contributions extended beyond the franchise itself, as she actively participated in promoting the restaurant and training new franchisees.

Entrepreneurial Pursuits and Family Life

In addition to her involvement with KFC, Mildred Sanders Ruggles played a pivotal role in her husband’s business, the Ruggles Sign Company. Together, they built a successful enterprise that left a lasting impact on the signage industry. Mildred’s business acumen and dedication to excellence were evident as she worked alongside her husband, fostering growth and ensuring the company’s continued success.

Outside of her professional endeavors, Mildred cherished spending time with her family and friends. Known for her vibrant personality and infectious energy, she was the life of the party. Whether hosting social gatherings or engaging in meaningful conversations, Mildred’s warm and welcoming nature endeared her to all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Legacy and Net Worth

Mildred Sanders Ruggles’ legacy extends far beyond her family and businesses. Her contributions to the KFC franchise, her entrepreneurial pursuits, and her embodiment of Southern hospitality have left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew her. While specific details about her net worth are not publicly available, it is evident that her involvement in the success of KFC and the Ruggles Sign Company contributed significantly to her financial standing.

Remembering Mildred Sanders Ruggles

On September 21, 2010, Mildred Sanders Ruggles passed away at the age of 91 in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA. Her memory lives on through her daughter, Marlona Ruggles Ice, her son, John F. Ruggles III, and her extended family. Mildred’s entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to excellence, and unwavering dedication to her family and community continue to inspire generations to come.


Mildred Sanders Ruggles’ journey as the daughter of Colonel Harland Sanders and her own entrepreneurial achievements have left an indelible imprint on the business world. Her contributions to the KFC franchise and the Ruggles Sign Company reflect her unwavering commitment to excellence and her passion for fostering growth and success. Mildred Sanders Ruggles will forever be remembered for her warm hospitality, infectious personality, and invaluable role in the culinary legacy of the Sanders family.