Holick Craciun Funeral Home

23040 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, OH


James D. Henke

March 6, 1954July 8, 2019

James Henke, aged 65, died peacefully on Monday, July 8, 2019 in Westlake, Ohio. He was born in Lakewood, Ohio in 1954 to Arthur and Virginia Henke (Dunwell) and was the youngest of three children. His brothers were John Henke and William Henke. His life was forever changed at the age of 8 when he purchased his first record, My Bonnie by Tony Sheridan and The Beatles. From that day forward, music was his life’s passion which he shared with the world through his writing. Jim grew up in Bay Village, Ohio, graduating from Bay High in 1972. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1976 where he studied journalism under Verne Edwards. In later years he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni. After his graduation, he worked in Cleveland at The Plain Dealer until leaving to pursue a career at Rolling Stone Magazine in New York City. There he rose from copy editor to music editor, spending years working with some of rock and roll’s biggest names. His legacy includes significant interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, and The Clash. He is also credited with writing the first profile of U2 for American audiences and with inspiring their song “Pride (In the Name of Love).” His writing earned him the ASCAP Deems Taylor award for excellence in music journalism. Many journalists credit him with giving them their first assignment. In 1988, Amnesty International approached him to write a book about the Human Rights Now concert tour, which was organized to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During this tour, he traveled the world with Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, and others. He left Rolling Stone in 1993 to pursue a role at Elektra Records as VP of product development. There he worked with artists including Jackson Browne, The Breeders, and Moby. In 1994, he returned to his hometown of Cleveland to accept a role as chief curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. He helped the museum build a world class collection of artifacts from some of the world’s most important musicians. During his time at the museum, he curated exhibitions of artists including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and U2. Over the course of his career he authored books including Human Rights Now, Lennon Legend, Bob Marley Legend, and The Jim Morrison Scrapbook. He retired from the Rock Hall in 2012 to focus on writing and collecting. Shortly after his retirement, he was diagnosed with dementia. During this time, he was an active member of the community, serving on boards of local organizations.

While Jim had many accomplishments, he was most proud of his two sons (Arthur and Christopher) and was a cherished father. He left us too soon and will be missed by many.

Funeral services will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, July 27 at St. Paul’s Church in Cleveland Heights. This will be followed by a public reception from 4-6 pm at the Grog Shop on Coventry Road. In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions be made to the Alzheimer's Association.


27 July

Funeral Service

10:00 am

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

2747 Fairmount Blvd
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

27 July

Public Reception

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Grog Shop

2785 Euclid Heights Blvd
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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