In his hometown, those who knew Sen. John Heinz remember him as a born leader - a wealthy heir who could have lived off his family's riches but chose instead to serve the community.
"John was a young man who, following in his family's tradition, gave so much of himself to make other's lives better," said Pennsylvania Republican National Committee member Elsie Hillman Thursday only a few hours after the senator's death in a plane crash.Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Heinz Memorial Chapel at the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Visitation will be Tuesday at a Pittsburgh funeral home, and a memorial service will be held Friday at the Washington National Cathedral.
As the news spread of Heinz's death, tributes poured in from political colleagues, friends, industry leaders and the workers and cultural groups Heinz supported.
AFL-CIO President William George called Heinz a statesman and friend, committed to workers' rights and the achievement of better living standards and safer jobs for all citizens.
"Working people have lost a good friend," said Lynn R. Williams, the international president of the United Steelworkers of America. "Sen. Heinz was involved in and actively led the fight for creating and saving jobs, improving safety in the work place, establishing sensible trade policies, and many other initiatives to enhance the well-being of our total society."
Heinz was one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, thanks to the vast H.J. Heinz food fortune. Though he was the largest individual investor in the company, the senator stayed away from management, preferring to concentrate on politics and other community activities.
He took a special interst in western Pennsylvania. Vincent A. Sarni, head of PPG Industries and chairman of the Allegheny Coference on Community Development, said Heinz's interest in the conference went beyond politics.
"It was a personal commitment to the growth and well-being of the entire region and to the city of his birth," Sarni said.
Heinz also led powerful charities dedicated to civic and cultural work. Carol R. Brown, president of Pittsburgh's Cultural Trust, called him "a strong leader for us, a wonderful person."
"John Heinz was a very committed philanthropist," said William Lafe, a former assistant director of the Howard Heinz Endowment. He said Heinz was a hands-on participant in foundation business since he took over as chairman in 1987.
Local friends also expressed shock at the tragic death. "I'm still hoping someone will say, `We found him, and he's not really dead,' " said businessman Richard Mellon Scaife. "I'm still in the state of shock."