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John H. Stembler, Jr.

John H. Stembler, Jr., a veteran motion picture executive who formed his own chain of cinemas, has died. John was widely recognized as a founder of and driving force behind the long-running ShowSouth convention. Long partnered with his brother, William J. Stembler, in Georgia Theatre Co. (GTC), John sold his interest in GTC three years ago and established Zota Theatres. Zota currently operates 34 screens at four sites in the Florida cities of Brooksville, Tampa, Vero Beach, and Palm City.

John graduated from both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Georgia Law School. He then followed a 1965-67 term as a U.S. Naval officer. After that, for two years he worked in the San Francisco branch of United Artists Distribution. He subsequently returned east to join GTC, rising to the post of vice president of concessions.

A Rotarian for more than 30 years and a board member of the Boy Scouts of America, John was well known for his efforts on behalf of Variety, the Children’s Charity, and served as chief barker of Tent 21 in 1978. His face grew familiar to television viewers in Atlanta as he routinely co-hosted WXIA-TV’s local Variety telethons.

Visitation for John Stembler, Jr. is 4 – 6 p.m., Thursday at Patterson Funeral Home on Spring St, in Atlanta.

The funeral service is 10 a.m., Friday at First Presbyterian Church on Peachtree St. in Atlanta.