John Henry Tunstall, Jr., 64, passed away peacefully at sunset, his favorite time of day, on February 6, 2023. To those who knew him, he was a storyteller, a romantic, a renaissance man, a bit of a curmudgeon from time to time, a devoted husband and a tremendous friend.
John was born in Easley, South Carolina, but moved to Seymour, TN as a young child. He graduated from Seymour High School where he played football. He attended and graduated from the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK). While at UTK, he was a member of the Pi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order. John made many good friends at college. Most notably, the gentlemen of KA whom he truly considered to be brothers, and a motley crew from Greeneville, TN, who became family. John Tunstall was the type of guy who made lifelong friends.
After graduating, John made his life in Nashville, TN where he was a restaurateur and businessman. An entrepreneur, John focused on real estate and restaurants. Despite being a foodie, he built and owned several Burger Kings in Middle Tennessee. He was also in a partnership that built and sold houses. He owned and ran the infamous Third Coast Café and 32nd Avenue, which became The Tin Angel (of which he was also a much-loved patron). John was a man who enjoyed business and exercising his financial acumen.
A vivid storyteller who excelled at nuanced embellishment and executing a good punchline, John was well-read, knowledgeable and insatiably curious. A conversation with him was likely to go anywhere and that was always part of the fun.
John met the love of his life (aka “the redhead”), Lisa Bonner Tunstall, in 1991. They were married in LaGrange, GA, in 1995. Together they created a home that was ever welcoming to friends and filled with objects and art from their many adventures. He was a fan of fine arts, be it painting, woodworking, pottery or other. Very few men appreciate a juried arts and crafts show like John did.
John was an avid aviator and was happiest while in the air. He divided his time between Tennessee and the South Carolina coast, which was where his family was from and where he considered home to be. Other passions were music and theater. He always had a playlist going and tickets for upcoming shows. He also enjoyed fishing, motorcycles and cooking. He liked a glass of wine or good whisky on the porch at sunset. And, he loved Christmas.
He was a friend, advisor and confidant. He is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Lisa; his father John Henry Tunstall, Sr., and stepmother Linda; his sister Kathy Tunstall and nephew John “Tripp” Henry Tunstall, III; and his extended South Carolina family. He also leaves behind several friends’ children that he considered as his own; many dear friends; more than a few shenanigans; and a multitude of good deeds. John “Bear” will be sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers, Lisa asks that donations be made to The Nature Conservancy, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, TN, or Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC.
There will be a memorial gathering for family and friends on March 25, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the Club Lounge at First Horizon Park, 19 Junior Gilliam Way, Nashville, TN 37219.
Guests should use the Club and Suite Entrance located off JR. Gilliam Way, across the street from Von Elrods. Parking may be found on the street or in one of several surrounding pay parking lots. Please note that guests will need to go through metal detectors although the clear bag policy will not be enforced.
Nashville Cremation Center is honored to be entrusted with handling Mr. Tunstall's arrangements. Please visit his tribute page to leave a thoughtful note for the family.