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Some background on Teresa Heinz Kerry

Published Aug. 28, 2005

When and where did John Heinz meet Teresa? What is her family background?

Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira met Henry John Heinz III in 1962 on a tennis court in Geneva, Switzerland. She was a graduate student at the University of Geneva's interpreters school. He was working at a Swiss bank on a summer break from Harvard Business School.

They were married in 1966.

Her father, Dr. Jose Simoes-Ferreira Jr., was a tropical disease specialist from Portugal with a clinic in Laurenco Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique, where Maria Teresa was born.

Her father and her mother, Irene Thierstein, the youngest daughter of one of the colony's wealthiest British families, left Mozambique to return to Portugal in the mid 1970s when Portuguese rule collapsed and Marxists took over, medicine was nationalized and Mozambique fell into civil war.

Heinz Kerry once was quoted as saying she could empathize with Cuban exiles in Florida because her parents also had "lost everything to the communists."

Her father died in 1989 in Portugal. Her mother died in 1997 at Heinz Kerry's home in Pennsylvania.