“He croaked” is how Dan Heines, never one for euphemisms, imagined his obituary opening. Dan, 91, died peacefully on December 28th, after spending Christmas among family and friends. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Martine Deberdt Heines, his parents, Thomas and Irene Heines, and his brother, Thomas Heines. He is survived by his children, Danny, Katie (Chester Burke), and Peter Heines; his grandchildren, Julian (Meredithe) Maldonado, Jake Maldonado (Sarah Etedali), and Mac Heines, his many nieces and nephews, la famille Deberdt, and his first wife, Carolyn Heines. The family owes a debt of gratitude to his long-time caregiver, Susie Petto.
Dan was born and raised in Grand Rapids, graduated from Ottawa Hills High, and then Michigan State University. He remained a loyal alum and Spartan fan. After graduation, while working hard to grow the family business, Heines Goebel Insurance, he still found time to take on leading roles at the Civic Theater, sing in the Fountain Street Choir, and co-chair Grand Rapids’ first Festival. In retirement, he and Martine spent many years living in Europe: wining and dining, taking in beauty, befriending the locals, playing golf, and collecting distinctive fetchings from their travels.
Dan lived large. He had a booming bass voice and a big heart. He was as gregarious as they come. His dinner table and wine cellar were legendary. He could make you laugh- really hard sometimes. He was a wordsmith: it seemed like he invented a new saying every time you spoke with him. He could draw and paint, sing and act, make food delicious and houses beautiful, and dress with the best of them. He was an avid sports fan and amateur player.
Dan had a way with people. He was loving and loyal. He had lifelong friends. He seemed to know everyone’s name.
Dan was deeply loved and will be sorely missed. He plans now, he said, “if the fairy tales are true”, to float down the Grand River and out into the Atlantic, where Martine will be waiting for him, so that the two of them “can sail the ocean blue together”. Bon Voyage!
Dan did not want a funeral, but was always up for a party. The family will host a celebration at St. Cecilia on Saturday, January 22nd, from 3:00-5:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Grand Rapids Civic Theater or the charity of your choice.
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
30 Division Ave N, Grand Rapids MI 49503