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Frank O. A. Heintz

Died: January 24, 2018

Memorial by June Heintz and Members of Elihu ’66 (click to view)

Frank’s abiding curiosity and faith in the dignity of every individual gave him the ability to listen deeply to others’ points of view. Frank’s rapport with people allowed him to fashion agreement among diverse groups of people. He used this skill in thirteen years as Chair of the Maryland Public Service Commission, as well as his work on the executive team at Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, where he ended his career as President and CEO. At BG&E Frank intentionally sought talented women and people of color for his team, bringing life and fresh ideas to this formerly stodgy company.

In his sophomore year, Frank was part of the “Yale-in-Mississippi” campaign to register Black voters. His first week there, Frank and another student were arrested. Frank was struck in the face by a policeman as he was being hauled to jail. Freed the next morning when the NAACP paid his bail, Frank never forgot the injustice he saw nor the courage of the Black pastor who had housed the young men.

Frank and June Rutledge were married in the summer of 1965, each returning to their respective schools. For a year, Frank rode his motorcycle every three weeks from New Haven to Lynchburg, Virginia, to see his new bride.

On their first date, Frank spoke of his interest in politics. He was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates on a multiracial ticket. He was subsequently appointed to the Baltimore City Council, where he became interested in the law, obtaining his law degree at the University of Maryland. The degree served him well at the Public Service Commission, a quasi-judicial body. Upon Frank’s decision to move to the private sector, the Baltimore Sun wrote: “Most Marylanders are in his debt as he leaves the obscure but influential post of chairman of the Public Service Commission…under his leadership, the PSC has been one of the most progressive state agencies in tearing down the old regulatory barriers between rival technologies.”

While in the House of Delegates, Frank and June became parents of two children, Aron and Adrienne. In 2009, Frank’s and June moved from Baltimore to Charlottesville to enjoy their young grandchildren.

In addition to his interest in history and government, Frank sought to grow in spiritual insight. He taught at his church for many years, was on several church boards and was an effective Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Christian and Jewish Studies. In his last 15 years, Frank and June developed a deep interest in Tibetan Buddhism and meditated together every morning. Frank’s day began with a half hour of reading and reflection.

Frank and June led a modest life, keeping cars for as long as they ran, traveling not for sights, but to see friends and family, and spending sparingly. More than once in Charlottesville, Adrienne repaired the seat of Frank’s old pants. Frank rode a bike or took public transportation much of his life. This frugality stemmed from Frank’s conviction that he wrote about in the 50th reunion book, where he urged reflection upon “the deep wisdom of the Native Americans, and cited the words of Chief Seattle, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Frank died of pancreatic cancer on January 24, 2018, at age 73. We will miss this multi-talented and caring classmate.

Michael Crutcher remembers:

I was honored to be asked to write Frank’s obituary and, after phoning his widow, June, I wrote what I thought was a pretty nice job and sent it to her for comments. Instead of comments, June sent back a completely new and improved obituary, one more heartfelt and beautifully capturing Frank’s unique personality. June’s obituary, not mine, is the one printed above. But I have one story to tell.

In the Spring of 1963, on a lark, Frank and I went to an advertised presentation by the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. This was before President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, whose membership in the organization made it a pariah. The Committee showed a movie of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, made from the viewpoint of the Castro regime. After the movie, the speaker called for questions. I made a rather lame inquiry. Frank was next and asked, “Are you now, or have you ever been in the past, a member of the Communist Party?” This McCarthy era question was dead on point but created a furor. We escaped in the pandemonium that followed.