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Accident claims 76 Diner founder

In the days following his father's death, Tony mainly kept to the offices in the rear of the diner. The number of people who shared stories about his father, and had come to eat and offer condolences took him by surprise. However, it wasn't long until the overwhelming community support and love for his father brought Tony back out front and to the support of a grieving and thankful community.

Tony and his sister, Diamantina, "Tina," grew up in the popular diner.

"It was more like my daycare center back then," said Tony. "At four, I can remember folding the cardboard boxes to put the pastries in. As I got older I would stand on a milk basket and roll dough with my father," he said.

Alex was the baker, the bookkeeper, the manager and chef. Through the years he would relinquish some positions and their responsibility to others as the business became successful. Although Alex may have lacked the schooling of many successful businessmen, many would know him as an astute business leader.

Some diner patrons came to pay their respects and help out the family carry on Alex's wish to stay open.

"On the day it happened I returned to see if I could help out," said Frank Burns, 61.

Burns developed a friendship with Alex in 1975, two years after he opened shop on Loudon Road. The relationship was rooted in business but quickly became a close friendship, said Burns.

Burns helped Alex with the books of the successful diner, he said.

Alex was "big hearted, strong and a powerful man," whose cheesecake kept many coming back for more, he said.

"He and Athena brought this up from nothing to a tremendous establishment. He did whatever had to be done," said Burns.

The Loupessis children are the same way, Burns added.

The 280-seat establishment would remain open through memorial and funeral services held today, said Tony. Each of the diner's 181 menu items will be available, including Alex's favorite, Greek spaghetti.""

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