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John Heinz
John Heinz.jpg
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
January 3, 1977 – April 4, 1991
Preceded byHugh Scott
Succeeded byHarris Wofford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th district
In office
November 2, 1971 – January 3, 1977
Preceded byRobert Corbett
Succeeded byDoug Walgren
Personal details
Henry John Heinz III

(1938-10-23)October 23, 1938
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedApril 4, 1991(1991-04-04) (aged 52)
Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Cause of deathPlane crash
Resting placeHomewood Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1966)
Children3, including André and Christopher
RelativesHenry J. Heinz (great-grandfather)
Drue English (stepmother)
Alma materYale University
Harvard Business School
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Air Force (Reserves)
Years of service1963–1969

Henry John Heinz III (October 23, 1938 – April 4, 1991) was an American businessman and politician who served as a United States senator from Pennsylvania from 1977 until his death in 1991. Heinz was previously the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district from 1971 to 1977.[1]

Early life, education and early career

Henry John Heinz III was born on October 23, 1938, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the only child of Joan (Diehl) and H. J. "Jack" Heinz II, heir to the H. J. Heinz Company. His parents divorced in 1942. Heinz moved to San Francisco, California, with his mother and stepfather, U.S. Navy Captain Clayton Chot "Monty" McCauley. Although he was raised and primarily resided in San Francisco throughout his childhood, Heinz often spent the summer months with his father in Pittsburgh.[2]

In 1956, Heinz graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.[1] He then attended and graduated from Yale University, where Theodore Stebbins was his roommate, in 1960, majoring in history, arts and letters. Heinz subsequently graduated from Harvard Business School in 1963. It was during his years at Harvard, during summer break, that he met his future wife, Teresa Simões Ferreira, who attended the University of Geneva. Upon graduating from Harvard Business School in 1963, Heinz served in the United States Air Force Reserve and was on active duty during the same year.[2] He remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1969.[1]

Before entering politics, Heinz served as an assistant to Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senator Hugh Scott and played an active role as assistant campaign manager during Scott's campaign for re-election. Heinz then worked in the financial and marketing division of the H. J. Heinz Company between 1965 and 1970, after which he became a professor of business at the Carnegie Mellon University's Graduate School of Industrial Administration.[2]

Political career

U.S. House of Representatives

In 1971, Heinz entered politics after Representative Robert Corbett, who represented Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, died in office. After winning the Republican primary, Heinz won the special election on November 2, 1971, to fill the vacancy created by Corbett's death. Heinz was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972 and 1974.[1][2]

U.S. Senate

Heinz opted not to run for re-election to his seat in the House of Representatives, choosing instead in 1976 to run for Pennsylvania's open United States Senate seat created by the retirement of incumbent Hugh Scott. Heinz won the election, and was subsequently re-elected in 1982 and in 1988.[2]

In the Senate, Heinz was a moderate-to-liberal Republican.[3] He was a member of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Finance, the National Commission on Social Security Reform, the National Commission on Health Care Reform, the Northeast Coalition, and the Steel Caucus. He also served as chairman of the Subcommittee on International Finance and Monetary Policies, the Special Committee on Aging, and the Republican Conference Task Force on Job Training and Education.[2]

Heinz voted in favor of the bill establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday and the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 (as well as to override President Reagan's veto).[4][5][6] Heinz voted in favor of the Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination.

He was elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for two terms, 1979–1981 and 1985–1987.

The New York Times noted that Heinz built a solid record in the Senate as "a persistent defender of the nation's growing elderly population and of the declining steel industry", that he was "instrumental in pushing through legislation that put the Social Security system on sounder financial footing", and "played a major role in strengthening laws regulating retirement policies, pension plans, health insurance and nursing homes", and "pushed successfully for trade laws that encourage American exports and protect American products, like steel, from foreign imports".[7]


On April 4, 1991, Heinz and six other people, including two children, were killed when a Sun Co. Aviation Department Bell 412 helicopter and a Piper Aerostar with Heinz aboard collided in mid-air above Merion Elementary School in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. All aboard both aircraft, as well as two children at the school, were killed.[8] The helicopter had been dispatched to investigate a problem with the landing gear of Heinz's plane. While moving in for a closer look, the helicopter collided with the plane, causing both aircraft to lose control and crash.[9] The subsequent NTSB investigation attributed the cause of the crash to poor judgment by the pilots of the two aircraft involved.[10][11]

Following a funeral at Heinz Chapel[12] in Pittsburgh and a Washington, D.C. memorial service that was attended by President George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle,[13] Senator Heinz's remains were interred in the Heinz family mausoleum in Homewood Cemetery, located in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1]

Heinz's long time friend, Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado,[14] remarked: "He really believed he could make the world a better place, such a contrast to the jaded resignation of our time. He could send the Senate leadership up a wall faster than anyone I've seen." Heinz's son André said at the services: "Dad, I am so grateful for the time we had, and I miss you and I love you."[15]

In 1995, Teresa, Heinz's widow, married Heinz's Senate colleague and future Secretary of State and presidential nominee John Kerry.[16]


The Tinicum Wildlife Preserve was renamed to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Heinz's honor following his death. The 1,200 acre (4.9 km2) refuge includes the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, as well as other habitats that are home to a variety of plants and animals native to Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Heinz was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1991.[17]

In 1993, his family established the Heinz Awards, which honors individual innovation in five categories. One of the Jefferson Awards for Public Service annual awards, for "Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official", is named in his honor.

Several institutions bear his name, including:

Electoral history

  • 1971 Special Election
    • John Heinz (R) 103,543
    • John E. Connelly (D) 49,269[19]
1976 Republican primary results[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican H. John Heinz, III 358,715 37.73
Republican Arlen Specter 332,513 34.98
Republican George Packard 160,379 16.87
Republican Others 99,074 10.43
U.S. Senate election results, 1976[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican H. John Heinz III 2,381,891 52.39
Democratic William J. Green, III 2,126,977 46.79
Constitution Andrew J. Watson 26,028 0.57
Socialist Workers Frederick W. Stanton 5,484 0.12
Labor Party Bernard Salera 3,637 0.08
Communist Party Frank Kinces 2,097 0.05
Pennsylvania United States Senate Election, 1982[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican H. John Heinz III (Incumbent) 2,136,418 59.28
Democratic Cyril Wecht 1,412,965 39.20
Libertarian Barbara I. Karkutt 19,244 0.53
Socialist Workers William H. Thomas 18,951 0.53
Consumer Liane Norman 16,530 0.46
Majority 723,453 20.08
Turnout 3,604,108
Republican hold Swing
Pennsylvania United States Senate Election, 1988[23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican H. John Heinz III (Incumbent) 2,901,715 66.45
Democratic Joseph Vignola 1,416,764 32.45
Consumer Darcy Richardson 25,273 0.58
Libertarian Henry E. Haller II 11,822 0.27
Populist Samuel Cross 6,455 0.15
New Alliance Sam Blancato 4,569 0.11
Majority 1,484,951 34.00
Turnout 4,366,598
Republican hold Swing

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "HEINZ, Henry John, III, (1938 - 1991)". Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Biography: In His Own Words". John Heinz and the Heinz Family. Senator John Heinz Regional History Center. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  3. ^ B. Drummond Ayres Jr (April 5, 1991). "John Heinz, 52, Heir to a Fortune And Senator From Pennsylvania". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  4. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 3706. (MOTION PASSED) SEE NOTE(S) 19".
  7. ^ Ayres, B. Drummond (April 5, 1991). "John Heinz, 52, Heir to a Fortune And Senator From Pennsylvania". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  8. ^ Berry, Lynn (April 5, 1991). "Sen. Heinz killed in plane crash". Gettysburg Times. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  9. ^ Cushman, John H. Jr. (April 5, 1991). "Senator Heinz and 6 Others Killed In Midair Crash Near Philadelphia". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  10. ^ Cushman, John H. Jr. (September 18, 1991). "Poor Pilot Judgment Blamed For Crash That Killed Heinz". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  11. ^ Pope, John A. (March 1992). "Accident Prevention" (PDF). Flight Safety Foundation. 49 (3): 6. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  12. ^ "Coverage of Heinz funeral set". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 10, 1991. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  13. ^ "Bush, Quayle go to Heinz funeral". The Press-Courier. April 13, 1991. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  14. ^ Thousands Attend Heinz Funeral Family, Friends And Foes Bid Farewell To Pa. Senator April 11, 1991.
  15. ^ Heinz recalled as good man, leader Beaver County Times. April 11, 1991.
  16. ^ "About John Kerry". Senator John Kerry. Archived from the original on December 27, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  17. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  18. ^ H.J. Heinz Campus — VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  19. ^ Connelly beaten by 54,000 votes The Pittsburgh Press. November 3, 1971.
  20. ^ "PA US Senate - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  21. ^ "PA US Senate". Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  22. ^ "PA US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  23. ^ "PA US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved July 5, 2012.

Further reading

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by  U.S. senator (Class 1) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Richard Schweiker and Arlen Specter
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 1)

1976, 1982, 1988
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 2 January 2023, at 03:35
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