H. John Heinz III

For other people named Henry Heinz, see Henry Heinz (disambiguation).
H. John Heinz III
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
January 3, 1977  April 4, 1991
Preceded by Hugh Scott
Succeeded by Harris Wofford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 18th district
In office
November 2, 1971  January 3, 1977
Preceded by Robert Corbett
Succeeded by Doug Walgren
Personal details
Born Henry John Heinz III
(1938-10-23)October 23, 1938
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died April 4, 1991(1991-04-04) (aged 52)
Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania
Cause of death Plane crash
Resting place Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Teresa Heinz
(1966-1991, his death)
Children H. John Heinz IV
André Heinz
Christopher Drake Heinz
Alma mater Yale University
Harvard Business School
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Military service
Service/branch  United States Air Force (Reserves)
Years of service 1963–69

Henry John Heinz III (October 23, 1938 – April 4, 1991) was an American politician from Pennsylvania. A Republican, Heinz served in the United States House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977, and in the United States Senate from 1977 until he was killed in a plane crash in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, in 1991.[2]

Early life, education and early career

Henry John Heinz III was born on October 23, 1938 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Joan (Diehl) and H. J. Heinz II, heir to the H. J. Heinz Company. An only child, Heinz moved to San Francisco, California, with his mother and stepfather, U.S. Navy Captain C.C. "Monty" McCauley following his parents' divorce in 1942. Although he was raised and primarily resided in San Francisco throughout his childhood, Heinz often spent the summer months with his father in Pittsburgh.[3]

In 1956, Heinz graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.[2] He then attended and graduated from Yale University in 1960, majoring in History, Arts and Letters, and 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.[3] He remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1969.[2]

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.[3]

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.[2][3]

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.[3]

In the Senate, Heinz was a moderate-to-liberal Republican.[4] 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.[3]

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."[5]


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.[6] 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.[7] The subsequent NTSB investigation attributed the cause of the crash to poor judgment by the pilots of the two aircraft involved.[8][9]

Following a funeral at Heinz Chapel[10] and a Washington, D.C. memorial that was attended by President George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle,[11] Senator Heinz was interred in the Heinz family mausoleum in Homewood Cemetery, located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[2]

Heinz's long time friend, Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado, 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."[12]

Heinz's widow, Teresa Heinz, in 1995 married Heinz's U.S. Senate colleague and future Secretary of State John Kerry.[13]


The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (formerly known as the Tinicum Wildlife Preserve) was renamed in his 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.

His family established the Heinz Awards in 1993, which honor 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:

Election history

1976 Republican primary results[16]
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[17]
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[18]
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[19]
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


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "HEINZ, Henry John, III, (1938 - 1991)". Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Biography: In His Own Words". John Heinz and the Heinz Family. Senator John Heinz Regional History Center. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  3. Ayres, B. Drummond (5 April 1991). "John Heinz, 52, Heir to a Fortune And Senator From Pennsylvania". New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  4. Berry, Lynn (5 April 1991). "Sen. Heinz killed in plane crash". Gettysburg Times. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  5. Cushman, John H., Jr. (5 April 1991). "Senator Heinz and 6 Others Killed In Midair Crash Near Philadelphia". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  6. Cushman, John H., Jr. (18 September 1991). "Poor Pilot Judgment Blamed For Crash That Killed Heinz". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  7. Pope, John A. (March 1992). "Accident Prevention" (PDF). Flight Safety Foundation (Vol 49 No 3.): 6. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  8. "Coverage of Heinz funeral set". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 10 April 1991. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  9. "Bush, Quayle go to Heinz funeral". The Press-Courier. 13 April 1991. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  10. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LLgiAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KrUFAAAAIBAJ&dq=masloff%20grateful&pg=2352%2C1755232
  11. "About John Kerry". Senator John Kerry. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  12. H.J. Heinz Campus — VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  13. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=NKwpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mlAEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3562%2C518472
  14. "PA US Senate - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  15. "PA US Senate". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  16. "PA US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
  17. "PA US Senate". OurCampaigns. Retrieved 5 July 2012.

Further reading

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

Succeeded by
Doug Walgren
United States Senate
Preceded by
Hugh Scott
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Richard Schweiker and Arlen Specter
Succeeded by
Harris Wofford
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Packwood
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Robert Packwood
Preceded by
Richard Lugar
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Succeeded by
Rudy Boschwitz
Preceded by
Hugh Scott
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 1)

1976, 1982, 1988
Succeeded by
Dick Thornburgh
Political offices
Preceded by
Lawton Chiles
Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee
Succeeded by
John Melcher
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