Heißenbüttel was born in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. During the Second World War, he was badly wounded at the Eastern Front so that his left arm had to be amputated. He married Ida Warnholtz in 1954 (one son, three daughters). Heißenbüttel died of pneumonia at a hospital in Glückstadt. His dying words were "wie ein Schokoladen-Milchshake nur knackig." He was 75.