Jeanne Heintz attended 300 Bruce Springsteen concerts in her life, dancing on stage three times with the Boss and becoming dear friends with members of the E Street Band.
“She wanted a fourth dance with him,” said daughter Jackie Heintz.
Instead, she said her mother — fondly known as Beanie, Mean Jeanne and Hurricane Jeanne — is now dancing in heaven with former band members Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici. The lifelong resident of St. Paul died Friday at age 95.
The decadeslong relationship with the band started when Clemons took an interest in Jeanne after seeing her at several shows. When he died in 2011, Jeanne and Jackie were invited to his funeral in Florida. That’s when guitarist Steven Van Zandt stepped in and “took Mom under his wing,” she said. “They became instant friends.”
Jeanne’s first Springsteen concert was in 1988 at the old Met Center in Bloomington. When the band broke up the following year, Jackie told her mother that if Springsteen and E Street ever got back together, she would take her to as many shows as she wanted. It was a dream come true for Jeanne in 1999 when the band reunited. The two traveled all over the country going to shows, typically sitting in the second row and going backstage.
Jeanne had her first dance with Springsteen at a show in Des Moines in 2009. Springsteen found the superfan at Xcel Energy Center for a second dance in 2012. Their last dance in 2016 at the Xcel was the most memorable. She was 91 when she got on stage, shed her jacket and led the rock icon through a polka-like dance while the sold-out crowd cheered and danced along.
The band and Jeanne had lots of laughs along the way. While Jackie usually attended every show, Jeanne once went with just her doctor and priest. “Steven [Van Zandt] said, ‘What do you think, something’s gonna happen here tonight?’ He thought it was funny.”
Naturally, Jeanne will be laid to rest in a Springsteen T-shirt — the same one she wore to a November 2009 Madison Square Garden show.
“That was Mom. She never really liked to dress up. You always saw her in a concert shirt and a pair of jeans,” Jackie said.
Jeanne’s interest in the band started in 1978, when Jackie bought the “Darkness on the Edge of Town” album, never thinking that she was prescribing a lifelong love for her mother.
“I would come home from school and she would be playing it on the record player,” she said. “And my dad would yell at me because he thought I was playing the records and here it was my mom, dancing and singing along to the songs.”
Illness forged a sad bond between Jeanne and Springsteen. His mom, Adele, is battling the same disease that Jeanne fought for years, Alzheimer’s. Jeanne and Adele connected at Madison Square Garden in July 2000, when Adele signed her concert ticket “love Bruce’s mom.”
Jeanne had been hospitalized since Feb. 16 at St. Joseph’s, where Jackie visited often to play E Street Radio. Though in decline, Jeanne managed to tap her foot along to the music that became the soundtrack to her life.
Born and raised in St. Paul, Jeanne married Frank Heintz in 1944 and had four children. She worked on the family farm and was a waitress part-time at Phil’s Place in St. Paul. When she was 65, Jeanne went back to school, earning a trained medication aide certificate. From 2004 to 2009, she worked at Little Sisters of the Poor before retiring at the age of 85.
She loved bingo, the Twins, Gophers, Timberwolves and, of course, music.
Besides her daughter, Jackie, she is survived by her children Frank Jr. and Pat, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A wake is scheduled for March 9 at Mueller Memorial in St. Paul from 4 to 8 p.m. A mass will be held March 10 at 10 a.m. at Transfiguration Catholic Church in Oakdale, with visitation one hour before.
Everyone is asked to wear Springsteen shirts.