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A Legacy of Sincerity

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Teresa Heinz
DATE: February 28, 2003

Teresa Heinz Remembers a Friend and Universal Role Model

On the day my late husband, John, died 12 years ago, Fred Rogers immediately sat down and wrote notes to my sons and me. In mine, he praised the honesty that John and I had enjoyed with each other.

It was a gentle reminder not to shut down, not to let grief rob me of the emotional openness and sharing that are essential to overcoming pain and loss. That was so typical of Fred, who was godfather to John’s and my youngest son, Christopher. Even in the midst of hi own sadness, he reached out and affirmed the importance of caring for each other.

Fred had a unique gift for dignifying the feelings of others. Early in our friendship, he would talk to John and me about an idea he had for a television show for children. He put together two observations that very few people did in those days. One was that, in times of uncertainty and chaos, children need reassurance that they are safe and valued. The second was that television could be a powerful educational tool.

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