Trustee Emeritus Ben W. Heineman Sr., a nationally respected business leader and successful corporate lawyer, died Aug. 5 at the age of 98.
Heineman led the Chicago and Northwestern Railway and later the holding company, Northwest Industries, for nearly 30 years. He was credited for being an innovator in the industry and leader in improving commuter rail service in Chicago.
In the public sector, he received appointments at the local, state and national levels, and served as an adviser to Mayor Richard J. Daley, Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson and President Lyndon B. Johnson.
He was chairman of the White House Conference on Civil Rights (1966); chair of the President’s Task Force on Government Organizations from 1966 to 1967 and chair of the President’s Commission in Income Maintenance programs in 1968.
Heineman worked on Stevenson’s presidential campaign as a speechwriter and investigated cigarette fraud in 1951 for Stevenson when he was governor. He was chair of the Chicago Civil Rights Summit Conference on Fair Housing (1966), and chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (1962-69).
Born to Walter Benjamin and Elsie Brunswick Heineman in Wausau, Wis., he attended the University of Michigan from 1930 to 1933 and graduated at the top of his class from Northwestern Law School in 1936.
He joined the University Board in 1964, became a Life Trustee in 1981 and Emeritus Trustee in 2007. He was a life trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Lyric Opera.
He was married for nearly 75 years to Natalie Goldstein Heineman, who died in 2010. The couple were active supporters of UChicago, particularly the Laboratory Schools.
Heineman is survived by his children, Ben W. Heineman Jr. and Martha Heineman Pieper; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.