ST. PAUL — Superfan Jeanne Heintz, 95, was hoping for one more dance with Bruce Springsteen, but her daughter said she’d have to settle for dancing in heaven.
Jeanne died Friday, Feb. 28, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul after a two-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Besides her family and her grand kids, her second life was traveling around the country, going to Bruce Springsteen concerts,” said Jackie Heintz, the youngest of Jeanne’s four children.
Jeanne’s third and last on-stage dance with “The Boss” was at the Xcel Energy Center last leap year when he called her up for a short whirl to “Dancing in the Dark” Feb. 29, 2016.
“We had a ball. It was beautiful,” Jeanne told a reporter at the time. “I was thrilled to death, every time I went up there I was thrilled to death.”
Last of a greatest generation
Jeanne, whose nicknames were Beanie, Mean Jeanne and Hurricane Jeanne, was born in St. Paul on Nov. 8, 1924 to Ora and Gregory McGuiggan. She was one of 11 children — 10 girls and one boy. She grew up in the West Seventh neighborhood.
“She was the last matriarch of our family’s Greatest Generation,” Jackie said. “Mom outlived them all.”
Jeanne married Frank Heintz in 1944. Together they had four children — Frank Jr., Pat, Greg and Jackie. Frank Sr. died in 1997, having been married to Jeanne for 53 years.
Mostly a stay-at-home mom, Jeanne also helped out at her family’s farm in Battle Creek and was a part-time waitress at Phil’s Place, a restaurant on Randolph Avenue in St. Paul, for 20 years.
At age 65 she went back to school to become a trained medication aide and at 80 worked in the dining room of Little Sisters of the Poor on Exchange Street.
“She didn’t want to retire,” Jackie said. “She was a go-getter.”
Springsteen fan for four decades
Jeanne began listening to Bruce Springsteen in 1978 after Jackie purchased his album “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
“I would come home from school and my mom would be playing records on the RCA record player,” Jackie said. “She would be dancing in the living room. My dad would yell at me, thinking I was the one playing the music. I’d say, ‘No, Dad, it’s not me. It’s mom.'”
Over the years Jeanne would attend more than 300 Springsteen concerts. She followed him all over the U.S., but never went overseas because she was afraid of flying over water.
Jeanne would have to get to the concert early so she could stand outside and listen to the sound check and greet the E Street Band who called her “Mama.” She formed a close friendship with Clarence Clemons, the saxophone player. When he died in 2011, Jeanne was invited to his funeral.
“She was devastated by the loss,” Jackie said.
Jeanne also got to know Springsteen’s mother, Adele, who found it touching that someone the same age as she, was a superfan of her son’s, Jackie said.
Dancing in the dark
Springsteen first invited Jeanne up to dance on Sept. 20, 2009, in Des Moines, Iowa. She made a sign to get his attention that said, “Bruce, I drove all night to dance with you.”
Two months later, she celebrated her 84th birthday at a concert in Madison Square Garden.
She got to dance twice more at the X, once in 2012 and finally in 2016 at age 91.
When asked in 2016 how she found the stamina to make it through a three-hour concert, she said, “I could make it through (anything with Springsteen),” she said. “It could have lasted forever.”
The wake will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 9, at Mueller Memorial Funeral Home, 835 Johnson Parkway, St. Paul.
A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 10 at Transfiguration Catholic Church, 6123 15th Street N., Oakdale, with a visitation at the church from 9-10 am. Luncheon to follow.
“Everyone is encouraged to wear pink, black or their Springsteen concert shirts,” Jackie said.
Burial is at Fort Snelling.