Founder of National Coney Island, Pointer James Giftos, Dies at 72
Grosse Pointer James Giftos died Monday at 72 years old.
Friends and family of Jim Giftos are gathered tonight during the first of his two visitations at Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons Funeral Home in Sterling Heights.
Giftos, who lived in the Pointes, died Monday at 72 years old. He was the founder of National Coney Island, which now has 20 restaurants in southeastern Michigan. Giftos opened the first restaurant in 1965 at Macomb Mall, according to the National Coney Island web site.
He is survived by his wife Patricia, three children, six grandchildren, two sisters, two brother-in-laws and several nieces, nephews and godchildren, according to his obituary.
A variety of people sent their condolences to Giftos' family on the online guestbook of the funeral home. Among the descriptions, he was described as being a positive, "heart-of-gold," family man.
He was known as Mr. G to the more than 1,000 employees within the company and was a veteran of the United State Air Force Reserve, according to the obituary.
His restaurant chain is a household name to Detroit area residents and his death has been tweeted about since Monday, one person even suggesting everyone in the area eat at one of the restaurants in his memory.
The company is involved in a variety of charity events and organizations, including Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores, Wigs 4 Kids, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Metro Detroit Picnic Day and Take a Lion to School. In December, National Coney Island was named the Family Restaurant Company of the Year by the Michigan Food and Beverage Association.
A second visitation is scheduled for Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores.
Memorial should go to Van Elslander Cancer Center, 22101 Moross Road, MOB Suite 102, Detroit, MI 48236 or Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 21800 Marter Road, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.
Attempts to reach Giftos' family are being made by Patch.