David Jennings Kitzmiller stands out in a crowd with his sturdy figure, bushy moustache and a powerful voice that would make an actor proud. Over the course of more than 40 years, he had overlapping careers as a teacher in Chatham County public schools and in the food-and-drink business in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Kitzmiller has left a lasting mark as the co-owner and original manager of He's Not Here, Chapel Hill's oldest and, over time, its most popular bar. His extroverted personality, competitive nature that kept him playing rugby into middle age and generosity have always placed him at center stage. Kitzmiller was born in 1936 in a tough West Virginia coal-mining town where his father was a miner. A good and athletic student anxious to better his lot, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for a three-year hitch in 1953. Special Forces training brought him briefly to Fayetteville for parachute training at Fort Bragg before assignment to Germany. During the same period, his mother, two sisters and a brother moved to Virginia, then to Greensboro, qualifying him for North Carolina residency at the end of his service. An ambition to play college football at Brigham Young University as a running back was thwarted by his 150-pound weight until a last-minute player shortage gave him a chance. Besides finishing two years of courses and sports on the Salt Lake City campus, he polished his strong voice to remove any lingering identity as a "hillbilly." Transfer to UNC with the help of in-state status and the G.I. Bill enabled him to complete an undergraduate degree in education in 1965.Married in 1958 to student Jenny Uzzle, he and his wife settled in Victory Village, low-cost quarters set up for veterans on campus after World War II. He earned additional income in part-time jobs, two of which were memorable. One was a summer construction job helping Italian artist Gerard Tempest build what is still Chapel Hill's most unique structure, the Italianate Villa Tempesta at 1213 E. Franklin St. (later the Villa Teo and now Whitehall at the Villa). His tasks included hauling truckloads of structural material from two razed mansions and a downtown Durham theater to the Chapel Hill construction site.The other job was helping Frank Meldau, a talented UNC engineering staff member, build a scale model of the UNC campus in the basement of Morehead Planetarium every evening and weekends during 1960-61. The model was a big hit at a special event in Charlotte in 1961. An updated version is on display in the Morehead Planetarium building for the enjoyment of campus visitors. Family obligations grew with the birth of son David Jr. in 1961 and daughter Kimberly in 1963. Two years later, with degree in hand, he got his first taste of teaching in a Chatham County school. Public school teaching and administration remained Kitzmiller's career focus for the next 22 years, mainly in Pittsboro, while his wife was following a similar career path for 32 years in the Chapel Hill schools. However, in 1973 he embarked upon a secondary bar business that became so successful and time-consuming that it eventually compelled him to end his career in education. He and lawyer Mike Troy became partners in a small Chapel Hill bar housed on the second floor of a building behind the former Pure Oil building at 112 1/2 W. Franklin St. They renamed it He's Not Here, based upon a well-known line of a bartender covering for his customers in a Humphrey Bogart movie. By 1983 the partners had bought and expanded into the two ground-floor spaces with a spacious and shaded courtyard.With the congenial Kitzmiller at the helm, the bar got off to a good start through emphasizing "lots of good beer at a low price in a good location." It registered strong growth after the hiring of Mark Burnett as assistant manager in 1978. A large, sturdy man with a pleasant manner and excellent managerial and people skills, Burnett initiated such new features as live band music, karaoke and bikini nights and video screens that drew large crowds. Besides attracting a general run of customers, the bar built a solid reputation as the preferred downtown watering place for many athletic, sorority, fraternity and town and campus groups.Success of the bar by such means came despite an interior location out of sight from Franklin Street, accessible by a simple unpaved alley and without parking. It continues to flourish by reputation and the distribution of free bumper stickers to customers in lieu of more conventional advertising. Flocks of alumni back in town for sports and other attractions visit the bar to stir memories of student days.With Burnett the full-time manager (a position that he still holds), Kitzmiller was weaned away gradually from He's Not Here by the demands of several other bar enterprises through the early 1990s. For eight years he owned and operated Molly McGuire's Irish Bar in the former Tempo Room space, and then for six years Franklin Street Bar and Grill, both in Chapel Hill. His last business was Dave's Seafood in Carrboro, a restaurant that featured a steamery based upon a New Orleans model.Kitzmiller and his wife raised their two children in a Dogwood Acres home, but their separate professional paths eventually led to a friendly divorce and continuing cordial relations. His Carrboro home on Hanna Street, bought in 1975, could be easily identified 20 years later by any one of three features. Outside was his small fleet of cars, including a Rolls Royce, a Jaguar, two Mercedes and a GEO. The back yard was a marvel of landscaping, shaped by his own labor, with a gazebo as a central feature. Inside the house, visitors were greeted by a number of dogs and cats (by 2001, there were nine dogs and three cats) each with a serious physical disability and rescued by his second wife, Carole Stemkowski, a veterinarian.In 2001, when he was 65 and fully retired, Kitzmiller again pointed his life in a new direction. A visit to Nova Scotia the year before had prompted him to buy a 200-year-old house in the seacoast town of Liverpool with plans to take up permanent residence there. Grateful for his decades of living in Carrboro, he and his wife gave the town an eye-catching outdoor fountain, purchased in New Orleans, as a going away gift. It graces the Carrboro Century Center on the Greensboro-Weaver Street corner.Kitzmiller has settled down in Canada to a quieter life with time for some community activities while his wife is in a veterinary practice. They return for short visits to North Carolina every year to be with children and their families and for him to resurface briefly in Chapel Hill and He's Not Here, where he had enjoyed his greatest business success.