John Stager Stemple, 24, a Falls Church resident who was studying nuclear physics at the California Institute of Technology, died at a hospital in Los Angeles July 9 of injuries he sustained July 2 in an automobile accident.

An official of the California Highway Patrol said the car Mr. Stemple was driving collided with two other vehicles at the Tejon Pass on Interstate 5 near Gorman, Calif. The incident occurred about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Mr. Stemple was born in Indianapolis, Ind. His family moved to Falls Church when he was an infant and he grew up there. He was a 1971 graduate of Falls Church High School and valedictorian of his class. He was an Eagle Scout of Boy Scout Troop 895 and a member of the Falls Church Presbyterian Church.

He graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 1975 with honors. He also earned letters in football and baseball. He received a Robert A. Millikan Fellowship for graduate work at Cal Tech and was a candidate for a doctorate in nuclear physics at the time of his death.

Survivors include his parents, John and Esther Stemple, of the home in Falls Church; two sisters, Sallie Stemple, of Washington, Va., and Sandra Campbell, of Hampton, Va., and a grandmother, Mrs. Walter A. Sommers, of London, Tenn.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Falls Church Presbyterian Church for the Jack Stemple Caltech Memorial Scholarship, 225 East Broad St., Falls Church, Va., 22046.