John Gilbert Stallings Jr.
1967 - 2020
STALLINGS, John Gilbert, Jr., It is with unbearable sorrow that we share the devastating loss of John Gilbert Stallings Jr. John died at his Richmond home, surrounded by those he deeply loved, on Monday, November 2, 2020. John's valiant fight with bile duct cancer began at diagnosis in November 2017. Throughout his long fight, he never complained, accepting with grace and courage his wonderful life, spending the last months with family and friends.

John was born on February 15, 1967, in Durham, N.C., the oldest son of Gil and Lou Stallings, and grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Celeste Barzizza Stallings; his son, William Macon Stallings; and his daughter, Emily Page Stallings; his father, J. Gilbert Stallings; and brother, William Hilliard Stallings; and sister-in-law, Kathy Foudy Stallings. He was predeceased by his mother, Lou Mathis Stallings.

Throughout his married life, John remained close friends with his in-laws, and is survived by brothers in-law, John (Laura), Tom and Paul (Elizabeth) Barzizza. He was predeceased by his sister-in-law, Lise Barzizza McCormack; his parents-in-law, Frank and Mona. He also enjoyed his time with numerous cousins across North Carolina.

John met Celeste on a memorable blind date to Mud Island Amphitheatre in Memphis in 1990. After a fun and very loud performance by the Ramones and Blondie, they escaped for a quieter venue at a nearby blues club on Front Street. After that first date, the couple was rarely apart during their courtship and after their wedding in Memphis in 1991. After their move to Raleigh in 1996, they were blessed with the birth of their son, Will, and three years later, their daughter, Emily.

Above all, John will be remembered for his unwavering love and devotion to Celeste, Will and Emily. Also, his many friendships (including some going back to junior high, high school and his college days) were especially important to him.

John graduated from Episcopal High School in 1984, where he ran cross country, indoor track, played lacrosse and served as Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1988, with an English major and Business Administration minor. He later earned his MBA at Washington University in St. Louis, with a concentration in Finance (1993). At Vanderbilt, John joined Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where he served as social chairman and established many lifetime friendships across the country.

John began his 30-year career in 1988, in the management associate program at National Commerce Financial (NCF) in Memphis, Tenn. Following success in the commercial banking divisions of NCF, John pitched his services as a de novo bank leader and was selected to lead the North Carolina expansion. In 1996, John and Celeste moved to Raleigh where they, along with Will and Emily, spent 14 wonderful years. Between 1996 and 2010, John served as Regional President of NBC Bank, Head of Retail Banking for NCF/CCB and, after SunTrust acquired NCF, President and CEO of the Central Carolina Region of SunTrust.

While living and working in Raleigh and Durham over those years, John provided volunteer leadership to the United Way, where he served as Chair of the Durham and later Triangle-wide Regional campaigns (2008 to '09); to the Durham Chamber, where he co-chaired the Vision 3-D campaign (2009); and on the boards of the N.C. Bankers Association, the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern N.C., the YMCA of the Triangle, the Museum of Life and Science and Playspace Children's Museum.

Alongside Celeste, John was a founding member and Sunday school teacher at Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, where his family made many lifelong friends. One of John's other favorite experiences of their days in Raleigh was co-founding a youth lacrosse league called Raleigh Rage and coaching the Mohawks boys team. Many of the young players he coached went on to enjoy and succeed on lacrosse teams in high school programs in North Carolina and Virginia.

In 2010, John, Celeste and the kids moved to Richmond as John was promoted to Division President and CEO of SunTrust, with responsibilities for Virginia and in 2017, after 27 years at SunTrust/NCF, John joined Richmond based Union Bank & Trust as Bank President, a bank John had helped in years prior with the launch of Union predecessor, First Market Bank, during his days as Head of Retail for NCF.

In addition to his leadership roles at the bank, John again made time to volunteer in organizations he loved including the Virginia Bankers Association (Board Chair, 2016 to '17), Greater Richmond YMCA (Annual Fund Chair, 2015 to '17), Venture Richmond (Executive Committee) and the boards of Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Collegiate School, Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation.

In 2018, John was honored with a Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities recognizing his commitment "to promote respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds." And, in 2020, John was honored with a Living Legend Award by Virginia Business Magazine. The family enjoys their membership at CCV, where John and the kids could be seen having fun in his old Boston Whaler on the James River.

Over his long banking career, John valued his many relationships with teammates, clients and communities. He thrived on working with his teams to help them achieve their goals. He will also be remembered for how he lived each day with energy, positivity, integrity and genuineness, a product of his strong faith.

John was a member of St. Mary's Episcopal in Goochland, where Rector David May provided comfort, wisdom and inspiration to John and Celeste throughout his cancer fight.

John and his family deeply appreciate the care and counsel of Dr. Grossman and Nurse Practitioner Chelsea Moore, Dr. Strife, Dr. Del Fabbro of Massey Cancer Center and Ashley Batten of Hospice of Virginia. The family wishes also to thank the entire team of Massey/VCU and Dr. Milind Javle of MD Anderson.

A private Celebration of Life will be held at Hollywood Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the YMCA or the Massey Cancer Center.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Richmond Times-Dispatch from Nov. 3 to Nov. 8, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Bliley's Funeral Homes Central Chapel
Add a Message
28 Entries
I first met John in his Pres role at SunTrust in Richmond. His welcoming smile matched his deep knowledge of banking and client behavior. You just knew he was a cut above the rest, yet very unassuming. His love for the community was evident in leading the Teammate Diversity Council in which I co-chaired the disability network. I will deeply miss John yet am so honored to have been a part of his world and known him as a friend.
Donna Heath
December 16, 2020
Norman Owen
November 18, 2020
There are no words. Simply prayers. Prayers of comfort for all family and friends.
Lauren Parrish
November 15, 2020
a loved one
November 10, 2020
Kevin Ohagan
November 9, 2020
I was fortunate enough to work with John while we were both with SunTrust Bank. In my nearly 30 years in the financial services industry, I’ve never worked with an executive who treated everybody with as much kindness as John did. To this day, I have no idea how he always remembered my name.
Although our paths crossed far too infrequently, I’ve never forgotten John, nor will I. He set the example that all of us who wish to make the world a better place, should follow. My deepest sympathies to his family and to those fortunate enough to to have known him.
Rick Class
November 9, 2020
Tanya Ceccarelli
November 9, 2020
We are sending our most sincere condolences to John’s entire family. My brother became close friends with John when they were teenagers in Fairfield, and every time he came to the house, the entire family wanted to be around him because he was so polite, caring and kind to everyone. A class act even as a kid! I’m truly thankful that we got to see him a few years ago and tell him how much our family adored him.
Tanya C.
November 8, 2020
Linda Rouse
November 8, 2020
Cameron callaway
November 8, 2020
I was saddened to hear of John´s passing. I worked with John at SunTrust Bank. He was fair and honest and was a pleasure to work with. May you find comfort in your memories.
Marilyn Worthington
November 6, 2020
Celeste, Will and Emily,
We were so sad to learn of your loss. John was the kindest soul and we loved our time getting to know you all in Raleigh. Please know we are thinking and praying for your family.
Much Love.
Marty & John Peterson
November 6, 2020
Celeste we are so sorry for your loss. John was a caring and considerate teammate. We remember fondly attending SunTrust events at your home in Raleigh. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers
Autrice Campbell Long
November 5, 2020
John was a very special person who was always nice to everyone around him. I spent time with John at a three week leadership training program at SunTrust and got to know him well. My thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones.
Susan Brown
November 4, 2020
Dear Celeste, Will and Emily,

Our deepest condolences during this very difficult and sad time. We are thinking of you and know that John remains in God's loving care. With our sincere and deepest sympathy,

Phyllis Palmiero and the Gelozin family
Phyllis Palmiero & the Gelozin family
November 4, 2020
Celeste - Lizzie and I send our deep love to you and the family as we grieve together this sad news. I remember John with deep admiration and affection and thank the Lord for the amazing gift he was to you and your children, the church and the wider community. I can't imagine the pain of the journey you have been on the last few years and I thank the Lord that he is with Him and this separation is temporary. We pray for God's peace and presence to surround you all in this time of deep grief. With love, Ger and Lizzie
Ger Jones
November 4, 2020
I was John's HR partner at SunTrust for a time and feel grateful that we worked together. John genuinely cared about his teams and was always focused on helping people develop to their potential. I know you have many memories of him that I hope will bring comfort. My warmest thoughts.
Eric Bjorkholm
November 4, 2020
We were so saddened to see this, but had joy by seeing all the lives John touched. The write up was so heart felt and the love he had for his family is unmeasurable. Strength be with you all and know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Kim and Michael Condyles
November 4, 2020
Sending my sincere condolences to Celeste, Will and Emily during this most difficult time. I am deeply saddened to hear that John has transitioned, but grateful that his suffering has ended. I will forever remember John for his genuine compassion for me and my family, when I lost my mother and needed to move back home to Memphis from Durham in 1997. He was instrumental in getting that handled for me and I speak of it often. May he rest in the arms of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Janel Tresvant Robinson
November 3, 2020
My condolences to John´s family. I had the pleasure of knowing John after SunTrust acquired NCF. He was always positive, friendly, fair, and a joy to work with. An all around great person. May his family find comfort in knowing that others like me, thought so fondly of John.
Beverly Sweeney
November 3, 2020
John's departure has left us with a profound loss. I'm so sorry and send you love and condolences. We never had a conversation where you 3 didn't come up at some point. He loved you as deeply as one can. He was a brother's brother and we Phi Psi's lost one of our very best. He will be greatly missed, but always in our hearts. God Bless.
Doug Leeby
November 3, 2020
Dear Celeste and Family, Our hearts go out to you as we mourn your loss. John was a very special guy who touched even those like me who knew him for just a couple of years. Great humor, wit and character. God Bless
Jim Johnson Phi Psi Vandy 86
November 3, 2020
John was an amazing person. From the first time I met him during the NBC/ CCB merger, I knew he would go far in life! There are not many people you meet in life who portray such a spirit and zeal for life and those around them; John was one of those people. Although I left the bank shortly after SunTrust purchased NCF, I was not surprised to hear about John and how he was moving up, deservedly so! I only saw home 2 more times after leaving the bank, but he recognized me and spoke first on both occasions. Having lost my wife early as well, I feel so deeply for your loss and pray that your many memories and friends and family will support you through this most difficult time. Peace for John, and peaceful comfort to his family.
Greg Cates
November 3, 2020
Our deepest condolences to the family. It was an honor to know you, John. You did life well, and you were always a gentleman.
Bob C
November 3, 2020
Sending the Stallings family thoughts and prayers as you mourn the loss of this tremendous man. I hope you find strength and courage in one another.
Molly W
November 3, 2020
I worked with John at SunTrust. I am so very sorry for the loss of such a young life. Peace and blessings to your family.
Leigh Kelly Dunnagan
November 3, 2020
There are so many wonderful things I can share about John! What stands out most to me was his smile and caring for others. I met John when you moved to Raleigh with the merger of NBC Bank and Suntrust Bank. I later got to know John when your children started attending Ravenscroft School. John asked me to help him work with the SAD group at SunTrust as a consultant where I worked alongside Kempton Shields and David Schaefer. After John was promoted to CEO and moved to Richmond, I had lunch with him in Richmond which was the last time we were together. John and I would call each other as I kept up with Will and Emily´s education. We were going to visit on one of UNC´s football games at UVA as our son was playing in this game but never connected. He always asked about our boys. I spoke to John about four weeks ago and prayed with him. His memory of our experiences together never left him. He was a blessing to everyone with his positive and caring heart! My heart is so sad and I can only imagine your hearts! I will be praying that you sense the love of God for your Dad and know he is with His Lord and Saviour! John´s love for you was always foremost in his mind and heart!
Bob Fry
November 3, 2020
Celeste and family: I am deeply sorry for loss of your husband and father. He was such a joy and pleasure to have know him and taken care of him at VCU. He was an amazing man .I enjoyed our talks about Raleigh the times that he came to us. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family at this difficult time.
Carol Beasley RN
November 3, 2020