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Henry John Heinz III (October 23, 1938 – April 4, 1991) was an Americanmarker politician from Pennsylvaniamarker, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives (1971–1977) and the United States Senate (1977–1991).

Early life

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker, Heinz was the son of H. J. Heinz II (heir to the H. J. Heinz Company) and Joan Diehl. His parents divorced, and Heinz moved to San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker with his mother and his stepfather, U.S. Navy Captain Clayton C. McCauley. After graduating from the Town School, Phillips Exeter Academymarker in 1956 and Yale Universitymarker in 1960, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business Schoolmarker in 1963. In 1963, Heinz enlisted in the United States Air Force and served on active duty from June to December of that year at Lackland Air Force Basemarker. He then served with the 911th Troop Carrier Group, based at the Greater Pittsburgh Airportmarker, as a member of the United States Air Force Reserve; he was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of staff sergeant.

Academic and Business Activities

From 1970 to 1971, Heinz was a member of the faculty at the Graduate School of Industrial Administrationmarker at Carnegie Mellon Universitymarker. His career as a businessman included positions as an analyst in the controller's division, and numerous positions in the marketing division of the H. J. Heinz Company.

Public service

House of Representatives

In 1971, he was elected by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Robert J. Corbett during the 92nd Congress. He defeated Gateway Clipper Fleet creator John E. Connelly. He was reelected to the 93rd and 94th Congresses.


Heinz was elected to the Senate in 1976, aided by the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker's decision, Buckley v. Valeo, issued mid-campaign, which invalidated statutory restrictions on the spending of one's own personal funds in a political campaign. Heinz spent millions of dollars attacking Democratic nominee William J. Green, a seven-term congressman from Philadelphiamarker and future mayor of that city, as being "soft" on military issues because he had voted against various Defensemarker appropriation bills in the Vietnam War era. Heinz was reelected to the Senate in 1982 and 1988.

Heinz's Senate work was focused on retirement and the elderly, health care, international trade, finance and banking, environmental issues, human development and education. He was chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (96th and 99th Congresses) and a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging (97th through 99th Congresses).


Heinz and six other people were killed on April 4, 1991, when a Bell 412 helicopter collided with the Senator's Piper Aerostar plane over Merion Elementary School in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvaniamarker. All aboard the two aircraft and two first-grade girls playing outside the school were killed. The helicopter had been dispatched to check out a problem with the landing gear of Heinz's plane. While moving in for a closer look, the helicopter's rotor blades struck the bottom of the plane, causing both aircraft to lose control and crash.

Senator Heinz was interred in the Heinz family mausoleum in Homewood Cemeterymarker, located in the Squirrel Hillmarker neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Personal life

Heinz married Teresa Simões-Ferreira on February 5, 1966 in Pittsburghmarker. Nine months later, their son, Henry IV, was born, followed by sons André and Christopher. His widow later married Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was the 2004 Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.


The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicummarker was renamed 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.

Several institutions bear his name, including:

Further reading

  • Heinz, H. John, III. "Foreign Takeover of U.S. Banking — a Real Danger?" Journal of the Institute for Socioeconomic Studies 4 (Autumn 1979): 1–9
  • Heinz, John. U.S. Strategic Trade: An Export Control System for the 1990s. Boulder: Westview press, 1991.

External links

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