Edward S. Churchill Jr., an H.J. Heinz Co. executive and philanthropist who supported local cultural organizations and the schools he attended, died May 17 at Allegheny General Hospital. He was 75.
Mr. Churchill, known to his family and friends as "Ned," suffered a stroke while bicycling and died the next day, said his eldest son, Scott, of Upper St. Clair.
Mr. Churchill came to Pittsburgh in the 1960s to work for Heinz. He rose to become chief executive officer of Heinz Australia. After retiring from Heinz and returning to Pittsburgh, he joined the Pittsburgh Public Theater's board of trustees in 1995 and served for nine years.
"I realized right away that he was endlessly curious about the theater and the world around him," said Ted Pappas, the theater's producing artist director.
"He had a great sense of humor and an instinctive respect for artists. We became friends instantly," Mr. Pappas recalled. "When I became the artistic director of Pittsburgh Public Theater, I turned to Jo-Ann and [Mr. Churchill] for special support for some of the public theater's most ambitious projects, 'The Glorious Ones' and 'Harry's Friendly Service.' His help made some of our greatest moments on stage possible."
Scott Churchill said that in the last year of his father's life, he gave away about $1 million to a variety of organizations, including Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Harvard Business School, Wesleyan University, Allegheny College, Pressley Ridge School, The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Mr. Churchill met his future wife, Jo-Ann, in 1959 on a blind date. They married a year later in New Britain, Conn., and were together for more than 50 years.
"He was never judgmental and very generous," she said.
When Mr. Churchill was not working, he spent much of his time hiking, attending Penguins and Pirates games, reading, golfing and traveling.
"He would always say, 'It's time to go some place,'" said Mrs. Churchill. "He was never idle."
Scott Churchill said his father "was available whenever I needed him."
He often played in an adult hockey league that held games at 5:30 a.m. and to his surprise, his father attended.
"That really showed his dedication to me," his son said.
He also took ski trips with his father to Vail, Colo., and learned how to be a good husband from Mr. Churchill's "Dad's Rules for Happy Wives" list.
He had the chance to have lunch with his father a few hours before Mr. Churchill suffered his stroke.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Mr. Churchill attended William H. Hall High School where he played baseball, served as class president and participated in the glee club. He attended Wesleyan College, where he received a bachelor of arts degree, and subsequently Harvard University, where he earned a master's in business administration. Afterward, he worked with General Foods Corp. in White Plains, N.Y., for three years before working for Maxwell House and finally Heinz.
Besides his wife and eldest son, Mr. Churchill is survived by a second son, Robert Stark Churchill of Chicago; a daughter, Cindy Churchill McCord of Titusville; a sister, Sally Currie of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and six grandchildren.
A private service is planned.obituaries
A.J. Allen: email@example.com.