William Demetriou

08/22/2011 5:08 PM |

Riverhead resident William Demetriou died Aug. 15 at Peconic Bay Medical Center. He was 89.

He was born July 10, 1922, in Hempstead to Peter and Jesse Demetriou and graduated from Riverhead High School in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a staff sergeant and spent 32 months in England with the 52nd Fighter Group, which housed the famous Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress “Memphis Belle.” He spent many three-day passes at the farm outside Glasgow, Scotland, that his Scottish-born mother’s relatives owned, and he enjoyed bringing back a supply of eggs and home-grown food to the barracks, according to family members.

Mr. Demetriou married Blanche Kurka in 1948. He joined the family business, The Garden Restaurant, established by his father in Riverhead in 1926, and he later worked as assistant base supply officer at Westhampton Air Force Base, until it closed in 1970. He retired as branch chief of the IRS Service Center in Holtsville in 1978, and later that year he and his son, Billy, opened East End Coin Shoppe on East Main Street in Riverhead.

He was a lifelong, diehard Giants football fan, and one of his greatest pleasures was digging clams in Peconic Bay, family members said. His greatest surprise was having a son born on his 35th birthday, they said.

He is survived by his wife; his daughter, Terri, of Rocky Point; his son, Billy, of Riverhead; and his brothers Milton, of Riverhead, and Arthur, of New York City. He was predeceased by his older brothers Nick and George.

Arrangements were handled by Reginald H. Tuthill Funeral Home in Riverhead. Interment took place Aug. 19 at Riverhead Cemetery.

Donations may be made to Kent Animal Shelter in Riverhead.