Everybody, it seems, knows about those famous little Krystal hamburgers. Many Chattanoogans also know that Rodolph Blevins “Rody” Davenport III, who died this week at his home on Lookout Mountain at the age of 82, was the longtime head of the highly successful Chattanooga-based chain of Krystal restaurants, which range throughout a large part of our country.
The Krystal chain originated in the 1930s Great Depression days through the enterprise of Rody’s father, R.B. Davenport Jr., and J. Glenn Sherrill.
The small, square Krystal hamburgers became popular during the Depression — originally selling for only 5 cents each.
Rody Davenport bought the stock held by other family members and by the Sherrill family in 1985 and expanded the company’s distinctive restaurants.
Rody was a graduate of McCallie School and Washington and Lee University.
In addition to his highly successful expansion of the Krystal chain, he was involved in many constructive civic affairs. He was a trustee of the Lyndhurst Foundation and a member of the boards of Dixie Yarns, Volunteer State Life Insurance Co., American National Bank and Trust Co. and Great Western Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Houston.
Davenport was successful not only in business, but as a benefactor in extensive philanthropic service.