Senator John Heinz was a Renaissance man, gifted intellectually, athletically and spiritually. His death in 1991 was a tragic loss not only to friends and family, but to a nation desperate for a compassionate voice in Washington.
Art lover, champion of the elderly and protector of the environment, Senator Heinz was the first heir of the vast H.J. Heinz Company to break from family tradition and enter politics. He wanted to help people. As his wife Teresa has said: "He had a rare gift for seeing the world in bright shades, and an even more uncommon gift for finding ways to share that vision with those for whom life had become cast in shades of hopeless grey. Through the prism of our nation, he saw a rainbow of hope and opportunity."
John Heinz brought that hope with him wherever he went. Blessed with an appeal and charisma that crossed party lines, Senator Heinz, a Republican, was extremely popular with Democrats. He was the first Republican to carry every ward of the city of Pittsburgh during his 1976 Senatorial campaign. People valued his desire for change and his respect for human dignity and believed his guiding principle which was "the status quo is unacceptable."
"In the performance of his duties, both as a public servant and as a philanthropist, he was not merely tireless, he was joyfully ferocious, himself the embodiment of radiant living," Teresa Heinz has said. John Heinz did not rest upon the laurels of inherited privilege and fortune; he used his life as a vehicle to help others.
"More than anything else, John Heinz believed in the power and promise of good government. Where others were cynical, he was creative. Where others gave up, he persisted. He simply believed that there was a proper role for government, and he demanded that it be efficient, effective, and compassionate."
- Senator Tim Wirth (D-Colorado) -