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Astoria mechanic dies in motorcycle crash

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He hunted deer, caught fish, grew tomatoes and even designed a kitchen for the new apartment they were moving into in the days leading up to his death.

But in a motorcycle accident on 47th...

By Cynthia Koons

His wife called him the “master chef” because he loved cooking.

He hunted deer, caught fish, grew tomatoes and even designed a kitchen for the new apartment they were moving into in the days leading up to his death.

But in a motorcycle accident on 47th Street and Astoria Boulevard June 11, Steve Demacopoulos’ life was cut short, leaving behind his pregnant wife, Betsy, and his 2-year-old daughter, Nikki.

“He was a family man, very much into family, very loyal,” Betsy Demacopoulos said Monday in their apartment on 38th Street in Astoria.

Steve Demacopoulos, an Astoria native who moved to Greece and then returned to Astoria when he was 16 years old, was riding on a motorcycle with his 23-year-old cousin, John Koundourakis, when they lost control, struck the curb and hit a wall at about 7 p.m. that evening, according to the police report.

They were not wearing helmets and did not have operators’ licenses at the time of the accident, the report said. Details of who was driving and what caused the accident were not in the report.

Steve Demacopoulos, an auto body mechanic and manager at a taxi company, died a few hours after the accident at Elmhurst Hospital. His cousin, who was listed in critical condition when he was first admitted, still was in Elmhurst Hospital as of Monday. Family members said he was beginning to speak early in the week.

Betsy Demacopoulos said she learned of the accident from another family member who heard the sirens just after the pair left the house on the motorcycle.

But when he saw that the motorcycle was in good shape at the scene of the accident, he did not realize how badly her husband and cousin had been injured, she said. After she learned what had happened, she rushed to the hospital, where she saw her husband from a distance but could not speak to him.

Steve Demacopoulos was buried last week at St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst. He was 31.

Betsy Demacopoulos said she will be certain to tell her children, Nikki, 2, and the child she is expecting to deliver in January as much as possible about their father.

A teacher on leave from PS 141, she described him as a “family man,” “father figure” and “leader” with an honest character.

The couple met at a restaurant not far from where they ended up sharing a home years later.

“A friend of mine told me she had somebody she wanted to introduce me to and I went upstairs and that was that,” she said. “They say you know when you meet the person and the night I met him I knew. I said he’s the one.”

The couple traveled to Greece, Jamaica and Hawaii over the course of the eight years they were together. In her apartment, Betsy Demacopoulos was surrounded by supportive family members and pictures of the many trips they had taken.

She said she was sure her daughter had some idea of her father’s death by the way she paid attention to the wedding video they watched after the accident.

“She sat on the bed, didn’t make a peep. She was just watching him,” she said. “I have to go on. He’d want me to be strong; I have to think about the kids.”

The couple was planning to move to an upstairs apartment in July to accommodate their growing family. Betsy Demacopoulos said she still plans to make the move, even though she will be doing it without him.

“He put so much effort and time and energy into designing the kitchen,” she said. “So I have to — I have to.”

This reporter rents an apartment from the Demacopoulos family.

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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