Athanasios Cheliotis, 66, had left his Wantagh home early on Thursday morning in route to the Concord Diner he co-owns with Charlie Tsemplis when his 2001 Toyota Camry was involved in a collision on westbound Merrick Road near Soma Avenue with a 23-year old female. The Camry became engulfed with flames and Cheliotis was pulled from the vehicle by witnesses but was later pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center shortly after 7 a.m.
A spokesman in the Nassau County Police Department Public Information Office said Saturday morning that the exact cause of Thursday’s crash is still under investigation.
Athanasios Cheliotis co-owned the Concord Diner on 99 4th St. in Valley Stream near the Lynbrook border with Charlie Tsemplis for the past 33 years. A manager of the diner, who identified herself as Leslie, said Cheliotis was a man of high character who was very active at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Merrick.
"He is going to be sorely missed," she said. "Anybody who knew him he made a mark on them."
In honor of Cheliotis, the Concord Diner will be closed Monday on the day of his funeral.
Cheliotis, who was born in Greece, is survived by his wife Kanella, children Diane Aykaz (Pierre) and Kostas Cheliotis as well as granddaughters Lucianna and Lia Aykaz.. Other family survivors include his brothers Demos and George Cheliotis and sister Maria Andonakos, who all reside in Greece.
A wake for Cheliotis is scheduled on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at N.F. Walker, Inc. Funeral Home on 2039 Merrick Ave. in Merrick. Funeral services are scheduled on Monday beginning at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Hewlett Avenue in Merrick starting at 9 a.m. Interment will then follow at Greenfield Cemetery in Hempstead.
The Cheliotis family requests that donations in Athanasios’ memory be made to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. The church’s mailing address is 24 Kenny Ave., Merrick, NY 11566.