Teresa Heinz Kerry biography
SynopsisTeresa Heinz is an American philanthropist, the widow of former U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III. Born in Mozambique, she is fluent in five languages. After her first husband's death in 1991, she became the chairman of The Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies. She expanded the foundation's support of health care, education and the arts. In 1995, she married Senator John Kerry.
ProfilePhilanthropist. Born Maria Teresa Thierstein Simes-Ferreira on October 5, 1938 in Mozambique. Teresa received her bachelor?s degree from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa in 1960 and graduated from the Interpreters School at the University of Geneva three years later. Fluent in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese, she moved to the United States and got a job working as a translator for the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations.
In 1966, Teresa married her college sweetheart, Republican Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania, with whom she has three sons. Shortly after celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in 1991, Senator Heinz was killed in a plane crash.
After her husband?s death, Teresa turned down offers to seek election to her husband's Senate seat and instead became chairman of The Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, one of the nation's large private foundations. Under her leadership, the foundation has helped channel money to organizations focused on health care, early childhood education and the arts. In 1996, she established the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement to educate women about pensions, savings and retirement security. In 2003, Teresa received the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism for her work to protect the environment and promote health care and education around the world.
Teresa was first introduced to her second husband, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, by Senator Heinz at an Earth Day rally in 1990. In 1992, she met Kerry again at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The couple was wed in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1995. In 2004, in her typical candid, forthright fashion, Teresa supported her husband during his campaign for President of the United States.
She and Senator Kerry live in Boston, Massachusetts, and have homes in Ketchum, Idaho; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania; and Georgetown, Washington, D.C.