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Holly Michelle Deeley Wilhite

Service Date: June 24, 2023
Visitation Info: Linnemann Funeral Homes Burlington
Interment Info: Cave Hill Cemetery
Service Info: St. Paul Catholic Church
Service Info

Holly Michelle Deeley Wilhite, 52 of Florence, passed away unexpectedly in an accident on June 9, 2023. Michelle was born on December 25, 1970, to the late Emil (Bud) and June Deeley in Louisville, KY. She graduated from Bullitt Central High School in 1988.  Michelle earned her BA in Speech Communication from Northern Kentucky University in 1992 and earned an MA in Speech from Miami University in 1993.  In 2003 she earned both an MA and PhD in Higher Education from University of Louisville.

Education was Michelle’s passion.  She had been a fixture among part-time faculty members at NKU since 1994. In 2000, Michelle was named Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Gateway Community & Technical College.  In 2003, she began teaching full-time as a Professor of Oral Communication.

Michelle was named Outstanding Young Alumnus by Northern Kentucky University in 2000. She was a two-time recipient of the Looney-Bennin Community College Teaching Award at the 2011 and 2013 Kentucky Communication Association conferences.  She was also the recipient of the Michael and Susan Osborne Outstanding Community College Educator Award at the 2016 National Communication Association conference. She received other awards for her teaching at Gateway in addition to awards she received for her service as a speech coach.

Michelle was an active member of St. Paul Catholic Church and many other community organizations. She has been a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels since 1991.

Michelle was preceded in death by her parents: Bud and June Deeley and brothers Mark  & Thomas Deeley. She is survived by her sons Mark Wilhite and Hunter Wilhite, fiancé Andrew Farris, brothers Brian (Pam) Deeley, Timothy (Amy) Deeley, Emil Deeley Jr, Ronald ( Angela) Deeley , Gregory ( Dee) Deeley  and sisters Mary Ann Vance and Jeanie Quinn ( Steve)  and many nieces,  nephews, cousins and friends.

Visitation will be held on Friday, June 23, 2023 from 4pm to 8pm at Linnemann Funeral Homes, Burlington. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Saturday, June 24 at 10am at St. Paul Catholic Church, Florence. Michelle will be laid to rest privately, at Cave Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences can be left at

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Linnemann Funeral Homes Burlington

1940 Burlington Pike
10:00 am

St. Paul Catholic Church

7301 Dixie Hwy
Florence, KY 41042
Phone: (859) 371-8051

Cave Hill Cemetery

12:00 am - 12:00 am

Holly Michelle Deeley Wilhite


A life well lived

On behalf of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, the Order offers its deepest condolences and is proud of a life well lived by Colonel Wilhite.

Sherry Crose, Executive Director
Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels

To all who loved her.

Prayers for her family and fiancé. Prayers for peace and strength now and all the days ahead. Michele was an amazing professor, mother, and friend. I could never run out of good things to say about her and how much she helped me. I have wonderful memories of her. She will forever be remembered and missed. Rest In Peace Dr. DW

Family of Michelle

My thoughts and prayers are with
Michelle’s children and family.
Brian & Tim, I am so very sorry for your loss.

Wonderful Mother & Friend

Michelle was such an amazing mom, friend, and so much more. We were lucky to have met her during our years together at St. Paul. She will be missed by so many, but her memory will always live on in our hearts. Praying for the boys and all of the family who loved her so much! Sincerely – Jenn, Pat, Allie, and Megan Reynolds

College Chum

Michelle and I were friends at NKU. I managed her successful bid for SGA President and still remember the fun we had together. Since then, we saw each other periodically on campus and I always loved catching up with her. She was so proud of her sons and loved them so much! She possessed an effervescent smile and such a sweet sweet spirit. Prayers and sympathy.

the best communication teacher this immigrant child ever had. love you forever.

I want to send my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Holly Michelle Deeley Wilhite on her tragic passing.I had just emailed her a few days prior about my assignments, so this has really taken me by surprise. I enjoyed getting to know her last semester; she has always been gracious and nice to me. I will always be grateful for everything she did for me while I was a student. She had a good heart and a lovely soul.It is a terrible loss for your family, and the void she leaves behind will never be filled, but keep in mind that she left this world having made such a positive impact on thousands of students; in fact, she is the reason we are able to communicate today. I enjoyed enrolling in her communication class.
, I was teaching her public speaking over the summer. She has taught me how to speak with confidence as an ESL (English as a Second Language). God bless her and grant her eternal rest. Please pass along our sincere condolences to the rest of your family as well. I ask God to grant her soul eternal peace. Please accept my sincere sympathy for this sad event. Keep in mind that her blessings are always with you. love -Mariam,N

Incredible Educator and Person

Dr. D.W. had a profound impact on me both inside the classroom and beyond. As a former student in one of her public speaking courses, she taught me not only how to communicate effectively, but how to have the confidence in yourself to take those skills even further in order to drive your success. Her character and her love for her students continues to inspire me and encourage me to speak up for the things I believe in. Rest in Peace Dr. D.W. and thank you for helping me find my voice.

One of the Great Instructor

We meet people on our life journey that make a profound impact on our life. Michelle was that person.
She will be in my heart and minds.