- Category : Business-Top-executive
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (11)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 3
American politician and heir to the Heinz food product company.
A member of the wealthy Heinz family of Pittsburgh, he left the business world for a political career in Washington DC. In 1982 and 1988, Heinz was easily elected to his seat in the Senate. Returning to his businessman roots, Heinz wanted the federal government to exemplify a well-organized corporation. Reforming Medicare for the elderly and U.S. trade were his main senatorial concerns. As the largest individual shareholder in the family company, Heinz enjoyed a personal wealth of $560 million. His enormous bank account, good looks and sincere political idealism made him a strong future GOP presidential candidate in the millennium. In 1991, his life was tragically cut short when he was killed in an airplane collision 10 miles north of Philadelphia.
Heinz was born in Pittsburgh, PA as the only child of Henry John Heinz II and Joan (Diehl) Heinz. When he was four, his parents divorced. Heinz studied at the private, exclusive Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Upon graduation from prep school in 1956, he went to the Ivy League schools of Yale and Harvard. With a B.A. in arts and humanities from Yale in 1960 and graduating near the top of his class at Harvard Business School in 1963, Heinz was ready for employment in the family company. He worked in the financial and marketing departments of the ketchup and pickle food company that his grandfather had founded in 1869. He served in the Air Force reserve from 1963 to 1969 during the Vietnam War. In 1970 to 1971, he taught his students investment management at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. On 11/02/1971, Heinz won the vacant congressional seat in his home district.
In 1976, Heinz fought a difficult campaign to attain the Pennsylvania Senate seat. In order to beat his Democratic opponent, he spent $2.5 million of his own personal money. Recognized as one of the country's richest politicians, Heinz became the chairman of the GOP senatorial campaign committee. His concern for his steel working constituents led him to fight for fair trade practices in the importation of American-made goods. He refused to see himself as a member of the privileged elite and tried to reach out to constituents throughout the state of Pennsylvania. He held strong beliefs for trying to make the world a better place. Lacking a cynical attitude about politics, his circle of friends knew a kind individual with gentlemanly qualities who remained upbeat, easy-going and unpretentious.
During his graduate school summer break, Heinz met his wife, Teresa Simoes Ferreira in Geneva, Switzerland. The couple married and had three sons, Henry John IV in 1967, Andre in 1970 and Christopher in 1973. Heinz was considered a devoted family man who enjoyed trout fishing and skiing and was a tennis buff. He was considered one of the best congressional athletes in Washington. Besides a home in Pennsylvania, the family owned a large, five-story colonial Georgetown house in Washington, DC.
On 4/04/1991, Heinz was visiting constituents all over Pennsylvania in a chartered twin-engine Piper Aerostar. After his pilots communicated their problem with the plane's landing gear to the control tower, a nearby helicopter was granted permission to make a visual inspection of the Senator's plane. At 12:11 P.M., on the second look the helicopter's rotor blades slashed into the right wing of the Piper Aerostar rupturing the fuel tank and unleashing a fireball explosion. The fiery debris of the two aircrafts rained down on first grade students during recess at Merion Elementary School killing two six-year-old girls and critically burning a six-year-old boy.
Senator Heinz, his two pilots, and the two helicopter pilots were burned beyond recognition in the spectacular crash. Heinz's funeral was held on 4/10/1991 at the Heinz Memorial Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh.