Nik Nikolas and his son “Lio”
Nik Nikolas and his son “Lio”

A Madison man known for his love of music and devotion to his son died Nov. 16 in a two-car crash in Neshoba County.

Nik Nikolis, 32, was traveling in the westbound lane of Mississippi 16 when his car collided with another vehicle at Goat Ranch Road, according to Neshoba County Coroner John Stephens.

Nikolis died at the scene from blunt force trauma, Stephens said.

The driver of the other vehicle, Charles Merrick, 50, of Neshoba County, was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson where he died the next day from his injuries.

The accident occurred just west of the Pearl River Resort.

Nikolis was the son of Vasilios and Anastasia Nikolis, the owners of Vasilios Greek Restaurant in Madison. Anastasia, Nik’s mother, said that the family is still shaken by the news of their son’s death.

“We are still just figuring it out and most of all just trying to absorb it,” Nikolis said.

She went on to say that her son was a talented musician and loving father.

“It is devastating,” she said.

Anastasia and her husband closed the restaurant after the wreck in observance of their son’s sudden passing and reopened Nov. 24, according to an announcement on the restaurant’s social media page.

Services were held at Holy Trinity-St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church in Jackson, where the Madison Central grad was involved most of his life. 

Nik’s brother Pete Efstratiou of Canton said that he and his brother shared “the music connection,” and would often play music together.

“He was heavy into music as am I and we used to jam together. I have taken this pretty hard but I know that my brother would want us to have the courage to continue on,” Efstratiou said.

After graduating from Madison Central he went on to receive a degree in the Culinary Arts Program from the Art Institute of Denver, Colorado. While living in Colorado he enjoyed hikes, camping, and pursuing his first passion, Music. He returned home to work in the family business “Vasilios Greek Restaurant.”

After a year in the restaurant business, his love for music led him to enroll in Musicians Institute of Los Angeles where he studied to be a luthier.

Nik was called back to Mississippi for the birth of his son, Vasilios Nikolis “Lio”. He was a devoted and loving father to Lio. His little boy was the light of his life. Nik and Lio were able to have many adventures together.

Nik’s last years were devoted to his son. Nikolaos Nikolis will be remembered as a loving father, beloved son and brother, musician, poet, artist, and trusted friend.