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.
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Published by Richmond Times-Dispatch from Nov. 3 to Nov. 8, 2020.