Craig Lieske

December 30, 1964January 18, 2013

Craig Wayne Lieske

Craig Wayne Lieske, age 48, of Athens, passed away on Friday, January 18th of a heart attack.

Craig was an incredible musician as well as an author, bookseller, songwriter and so much more. He was born in Lima, Ohio on December 30, 1964. He also lived in Athens TN & Florence SC, but has lived in Athens GA since 1982. He graduated from Clarke Central High School, class of 1983 and attended UGA in the eighties.

Craig was a bookseller at Avid Bookshop, played in countless bands, including Garbage Island and Echo Canyon. He was an extremely well regarded musician in experimental rock and freeform jazz circles. He was a former manager at The Fabulous 40 Watt Club and a long time employee of the band Drive-By Truckers where he elevated to role of merchandise wrangler to that of an ambassador and liaison between the fans and the band. He was known for an encyclopedic knowledge of music, art and literature. He recently finished writing a novel and was shopping for a publishing deal. He was as happy, kind and thoughtful a man as could be, and universally loved.

He was preceded in death by his wonderful and loving wife, Janet Bond.

Craig is survived by his beloved soul mate and companion Melinda Cook; parents Dale and Elaine Lieske; sister Gretchen Lieske Hill; brother-in-law Shawn Hill; niece Sierra Veal; cousin Ryan Hetrick and numerous Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

There has been an outpouring of love and grief from friends all over Athens and the many towns he traveled while touring with Drive-By Truckers; as well as his many musical collaborators and dear friends from Avid Bookshop and The 40 Watt Club. Many people regarded Craig as the glue that helped to hold our very vibrant and diverse music scene together and will be terribly missed.

The Official Memorial Service will be Saturday February 2nd, 2:00-4:00pm at the Fabulous 40 Watt Club 285 West Washington St. Athens, GA 30601

In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Craig's name to Nuçi's Space 396 Oconee St. Athens, GA 30601

For more information on Craig and how to help Melinda & Craig’s family please go to

Online condolences may be offered at

Bernstein Funeral Home and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, February 2, 2013

Craig Lieske

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Jeff & Tracy Hartlage

February 5, 2013

Our hearts go out to the family as you mourn this huge loss. You will be on our minds and in our prayers.

Trish Scurry

February 2, 2013

Craig was one of the greatest humans the world has ever known. Such an honest and loving person. He was my friend, and I will miss him everyday, but I will also carry his wisdom and laughter with me forever.

Frank Schrum

February 1, 2013

My condolences to the family and friends of Craig.

Missy Wilson

February 1, 2013

I hadn't seen Craig any many years, since not long after high school. I can still hear his laughter and see that hand run thru his hair. My thoghts and prayers go out to his loved ones. If I am missing him I can only imagine your pain.

John Hinton

January 27, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. We will surely miss seeing Craig at the rock show. Always smiling, and always fun to talk too.

Kristy Jane Pierce

January 26, 2013

Craig, my dear, I've been putting this off because of my loss for words. There are none that can express my feeling of of sorrow and heartache. So I decided to just have our weekly chat, like we have done for the last few years.
You put on one hell of a show last Thursday night. Thundercrack rocked the 40Watt off its foundation. I'm sorry I missed your call that afternoon, the boys had my full attention the whole weekend. I promise to one day listen to your voice mail. I know you have been anxiously awaiting the return of my biopsy results. And finally this Wednesday I heard the words "Mrs Pierce, you are cancer free." Now my only complaint is getting rid of this Dr Phil hair thing I have going on. As always, give Melinda my love. Hugs & Kisses. See You At The Rock Show!!
Love you Lots
Kristy Jane

jon boyd

January 23, 2013

Craig has moved on he is missed more than we could imagine,he was loved by more than we would care to count and still is,Craig was a very cool,unique,fun,person,that did what he loved to do.We are all better people for knowing him.Melinda you are always in our thoughts and prayers,we love ya.

Chris Drum

January 23, 2013

Dearest Melinda, Your family on the East Coast sends you so much love during this difficult time. The memories of the wonderful life that you and Craig shared, will help carry you through. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and Craig's family. With love, Aunt Chris X/O

Sumer McElroy

January 22, 2013

Craig was an incredible friend, and I will miss him dearly. I'm thankful he was a part of my life, and for the memories I have of him. I am very sorry for you loss.

Mark Cheak

January 22, 2013

Craig was my brother-in-law for only a little while, but to me he will always be my brother. My deepest sympathy to everyone left behind. I am praying for all of you; trust God and he will see you through.