Remembering John G. Stallings Jr.: 1967-2020
Former Union, SunTrust exec leaves legacy of giving
The word “can’t” just didn’t seem to be a part of John G. Stallings Jr.’s vocabulary.
From helping reshape what is now Atlantic Union Bank from a small community bank into a regional player to starting a youth financial literacy program to serving on the boards of multiple organizations, Stallings’ friends and colleagues describe him as a compassionate, charismatic and selfless leader who devoted much of his time to helping others. He died at home on Nov. 2 following a three-year fight with bile duct cancer. He was 53.
After serving as president and CEO for SunTrust Banks’ Virginia operations, Stallings became president of Union Bank & Trust — now Atlantic Union — in September 2017. In that role, John Asbury, CEO of Atlantic Union Bank and of Atlantic Union Bankshares Corp., says Stallings had an “extraordinary impact on the company” during his short tenure, which ended after about a year and a half due to his cancer diagnosis.
“I used to refer to him as Mary Poppins: practically perfect in every way,” says Asbury. “John was a catalyst in [just] about anything that he did.”
That impact was felt by multiple community and philanthropic organizations, including the Virginia Bankers Association, for which Stallings served as board chairman from 2016 to 2017.
“He was just the epitome of a community leader, a community servant, and he was a really great person,” says Bruce Whitehurst, president and CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association. “He was such an inspiration to everyone who knew him.”
He was also annual fund chairman for the YMCA of Greater Richmond, an executive committee board member of Venture Richmond, and a member of the boards of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Collegiate School, Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation.
In 2018, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities presented him with its Humanitarian Award. Stallings was also featured as a Living Legend in the first edition of Virginia Business magazine’s Virginia 500 issue. Tim Joyce, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Richmond, says Stallings was “genuine and compassionate and loving of people.”
“He loved this community, he loved his family, he loved the YMCA, he loved the Lord, and he was this amazing leader,” Joyce says. “He walked what he talked.”