Hal Hudson Guthrie, Sr.


Hal Hudson Guthrie, Sr., the founder of Guthrie’s Restaurants, passed away Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, in Haleyville, Ala.

Hal was born on March 6, 1937, in Jasper, Ala. He spent his childhood there, and went on to graduate from Auburn University. Hal moved to Haleyville in 1965 where he founded the first Guthrie’s Restaurant. He then married Melissa Savage in 1966. They raised four children, Chris, Hud, Joe Kelly, and Anna Margaret.

In 1978, Hal introduced chicken fingers to the Guthrie’s menu, and the famous sauce was created that same day. In 1982, Hal and his oldest son, Chris, opened what became the world’s first chicken finger restaurant in Auburn, Ala. Thus, pioneering the chicken finger restaurant industry. The simple concept was a huge hit and the Guthrie family started opening restaurants all across the South. In 2005, the Guthrie family started Franchising and continues to this day. Hal was instrumental in helping design and construct several churches. He enjoyed piloting his own planes, boating and operating heavy equipment.

Hal is preceded in death by his mother, Ila Vee Guthrie; his father, Clarence Terrell "Bo" Guthrie; and his son, Chris Guthrie.

He is survived by his wife, Melissa Savage Guthrie; his children, Hud (Mindi), Joe Kelly (Jennifer), Anna Margaret, and Chris’ wife, Tara; his grandchildren, Chase, Ryan, Kassidy, Brancen, Sawyer, Tanner, Garrison, and Campbell; his brother, Terrell Guthrie (Patsy A. Guthrie); nephews, Alan Parks and the Honorable Clarence Guthrie; and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at First Baptist Church in Haleyville Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, from 2 until 4 p.m., with funeral service beginning at 4 p.m.