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Michele Ann Williams

Service Date: September 3, 2021
Interment Info: St. Mary Cemetery (Ft. Mitchell)
Service Info: St. Barbara Catholic Church
Service Info

Michele Ann Williams (nee Sterling), 70, of Villa Hills, KY, passed away on August 26, 2021 at University Hospital after a long battle with a deteriorating pulmonary illness that was exacerbated by her contracting COVID-19. Michele always had a smile on her face despite the battles in life she faced. She served on the boards of Covington Catholic High School and Notre Dame Academy, she was an avid advocate for the care of the disabled at Drake Hospital, and she always enjoyed going to Siesta Key with her family.

Michele is survived by her loving husband of 46 years, Dr. J.D. Williams; her children, Dr. J. Ryan Williams (Erin), M. Renee Jones, and Tara Williams; and her siblings, Glen Sterling, Mary Kay Sterling, Gemma Zembrodt, Jan Zembrodt, Mary Pat Lewis, and Fr. John Sterling.

Michele also leaves behind her 7 grandchildren, whom she adored.

Mass of Christian Burial will be on Friday, September 3, 2021 at 10:00AM at St. Barbara Catholic Church.

Masks and social distancing are mandatory.

The family requests that if you are eligible for the COVID vaccine, but have not been vaccinated, that you attend her funeral mass from home via livestream link:

 In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to: Sisters of Notre Dame Retirement Fund 1601 Dixie Highway, Covington, KY 41011.

To share a memory of Michele or leave an online condolence:

Michele’s Life Story

(Written by Marsha Linnemann with memories shared by The Williams Family)

Michele Ann Williams loved and lived fully, touching the lives of others in very special ways.  Always the life of the party, she was fun-loving and light hearted. She remained positive and optimistic, regardless of what life threw at her. She gave everything her all, and she expected others to do the same, as she was the sort of person who didn’t expect more out of others than she was willing to do herself.  With unending devotion to her loved ones, she treasured her roles as wife and mother, but Michele just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother. So deeply loved, she will be forever missed.

Michele was born October 20, 1950, to Elmer and LaVern Sterling in Covington, Kentucky. Michele was the middle child, the “peacemaker,” joining older brother, Glenn, and sister, Kay. Soon Gemma, Jan, Mary Pat, and John completed the family; their three- bedroom home in Edgewood was filled to the brim with family. They were a close-knit family and Michele often mothered the younger siblings. Elmer supported the family working as a plumber. John recalled once having borrowed Michele’s car and returning it damaged. He tried to hide the unfortunate situation, but Michele, never to be fooled, just laughed about it.

Michele was an excellent student; she attended St. Pius School and Notre Dame Academy. At Notre Dame Michele forged lifetime friendships that continue to this day. The friends get together for a monthly book club, as Michele was an avid reader.  Every Friday they gather for lunch to laugh, recall special times, and support each other through the seasons of life. Following her graduation from high school in 1968, Michele became a novice with intent to join the Sisters of Divine Providence. Michele often joked about this, as her stay was short-lived due to her high-spirited, lively ways.

Michele embarked on what her family referred to as her “hippie phase,” when she drove her VW beetle sporting flowered stickers playing “In-a-Gadda-da Vida” loudly. She trained to be a Licensed Practical Nurse, and began working at St. Elizabeth Hospital as a surgical-scrub nurse. At St. E’s, Michele met the handsome intern, J.D. Williams, in 1974, and the couple married September 19, 1975.

The Williams Family relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1976, while J.D. finished his urology residency. Michele worked at the local pediatric hospital as a surgical nurse. Life changed for Michele and J.D. when they welcomed twins Ryan and Renee, in 1978. Michele was the consummate mother. Ryan said, “Mom wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty!” She would join the children outside to play in the snow, build a fort, or bait a hook while they were fishing. She was an active mother.

After residency, the Williams Family moved to Maysville, KY, and J.D. started his urology practice. When daughter Tara was born in 1981, her special needs meant Michele drove three times a week to Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. It was soon evident a move to Northern Kentucky would make life a little easier for the family.

The children attended Blessed Sacrament Elementary Schools. Michele was a very hands-on Mom; she volunteered at school and was ever present cheering loudly at their sporting events. When Ryan went to Covington Catholic High School and Renee attended Notre Dame, Michele served on the boards for each school.

The family loved to spend weekends at their cabin at Perry Park. It was a special time where life slowed down and there was no television; family time was holy. At Perry Park they spent time fishing at the lake, and while Michele claimed to be a good golfer, what she enjoyed most was the camaraderie.

Michele frequently invited her nephews and nieces for an overnight or weekend visit. They all loved to hide out in Aunt Shell’s pantry where she had a myriad of special treats. She loved kids and they loved her. She also entertained friends and family; she was the Martha Stewart of hosting and knew how to make everyone feel welcome. She made a mean Manhattan and Old Fashioned, and was a bourbon aficionado. Michele exemplified resilience; once when the dog ate half of her liver pate’, Renee recalled, “Mom just reshaped it.”

Tragedy struck the William’s when daughter Tara was hit by a car in 2004. Michele was a fierce advocate for Tara and worked tirelessly to get the best treatment possible for her. Her strong advocacy also helped other patients at Drake Hospital get the care they deserved. Tara and Michele always had a strong spiritual bond. When told of Michele’s death, Tara felt she already knew.

The Williams’ loved to vacation in Siesta Key. It was Michele’s happy place. She would load up the kids and head to the beach and J.D. would join them whenever he could. Especially in later years, these trips created special memories for family and friends. Ryan attributes his move to St. Petersburg, Florida to his desire to be close to his parents when they wintered in Florida.

No story about Michele would be complete without mention of her strong faith devotion to her God. She had a special love for St. Therese of Lisieux; “ Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.Ryan noted that Michele’s middle name is Ann, as was Mary’s mother’s name. He said “Mom taught me how to love my children.”  Michele trusted God in all things. J.D. said “She made me a better Catholic.” Her strong faith in God through difficult times was a wonderful example to others. Her faith and confidence in heaven brought her great joy.

Michele and JD loved to travel with friends, and together toured much of Europe. When Michele visited Ireland, where she was able to trace the Sterling family history, she fell in love. She delighted in finding the church where her relative served as a priest.

Michele was fun to be around. She loved to decorate and was good at it. She could be goofy at times, sticking black licorice on a tooth or telling some “Elmer Jokes’ after her father, Elmer. She loved to dance and sing and generally livened up any party.

When grandchildren; Zachary, Nathan, Mackenzie, James, Annabelle, Kate, and Charlotte began arriving, Michele found a new purpose in life. She would drop everything and travel to take care of her grandbabies. She so adored them, and didn’t hesitate to travel even to England to help Renee with her baby.  She knew how to create a fun environment where children felt safe and loved and had a great time.

Michele held diverse interests and talents. She worked diligently to make an afghan for each of her grandchildren. She was a talented photographer who had her own dark room, and she created a montage of Tara’s life in black and white photographs. Many commented that it would be the envy of most professionals.

Michele began having some pulmonary issues which caused her to slow down a bit. During the year of Covid she remained cautious due to her increased risk being immunosuppressed. Recently, she became ill and tested positive for Covid.

Michele continued to fight as hard as she could, as she was a strong woman who did as much as her body would allow.

Sadly, with her husband by her side, Michele finished her fight and went to be with her Lord on August 26, 2021.

Michele Williams will be remembered for her beautiful smile and love of others. She was a selfless giver, a loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister. Her greatest legacy will be that she Loved and Cared! She will be greatly missed.

10:00 am

St. Barbara Catholic Church

4042 Turkeyfoot Rd.
Erlanger, Ky 41018

St. Mary Cemetery (Ft. Mitchell)

Address: 2201 Dixie Highway Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017
12:00 am - 12:00 am

Michele Ann Williams


Thought & Prayers

Dr. Williams, Ryan, Renee, and Tara,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time. Mrs. Williams was always so very nice to me and she made an impact on many people here in Northern Kentucky. I enjoyed reading about her well-lived life. Thank you for all you have done for our NKY community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Brian and Christa Erpenbeck

Andrew Tkach

Dear J.D. and family,

I was stunned to hear of Michelle’s passing. Her kind demeanour and smile always took over the room. J.D., you and Michelle were always so kind to me; I hope that you and the family find peace in Michelle’s peace. If I can do anything please let me know.

Andrew Tkach

Miss Michele

Dear J.D. and Family,
Jim and I are heartbroken about Michele. Although we haven’t seen you lately, please know we have many fond memories of Michele and your entire family. We will not be at the mass tomorrow but we will be watching and feeling your sorrow. Please know that the whole community will miss your fun loving Michele!
Ginny and Jim Robke

Michele Williams

J.D. and family,
Sorry to hear of your loss. Linda and I send our condolences, along with our prayers during this difficult time.
Jim and Linda Nageleisen

Dr. Williams

I am so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers for comfort through the days ahead. Debbi Broering

My heartfelt condolences

My thoughts and prayers go out to J. D., Ryan, Renee, and Tara, and all who loved her. I have many fond memories of times spent with Michele – on the golf course, at “Crazy Lady” lunches, and our trip to the Bahamas. I will never forget the trip to Columbus that Michele and I took to see David Lanz in concert. Or was it Dayton? Well, I guess some things I have forgotten! But I will never forget the bond that Michele and I formed on that overnight trip. May her memory be a blessing to all who loved her. Love from Pattie Fitzpatrick.

Words cant describe our feelings

To JD and the entire family, I cannot express our sympathy. We love you guys, and if we can help at all please do not hesitate to ask. On behalf of the entire Mercedes-Benz of Fort Mitchell family, our thoughts and prayers are with you, we are so sorry, respectfully, Don, Heather, and Ava Grace Paparella.

so sorry to hear of this great loss

Although I have never personally met Michele or any member of your family, I want to share and appreciate the positive impact she made in my life. In 2008, through a series of medical incidents, my daughter was reduced to a vegetative state. As we hoped and prayed for some recovery, I was “introduced” to Michele and learned of Tara’s story and the struggles toward her recovery through a mutual friend. She sent me a copy of the CD, “Heart songs for Tara” which I have listened to many times and would play it for my daughter when my visit for the day had ended. Michele sent notes of encouragement now and then and a beautiful family picture from Christmas, 2008 so I could put a “face to the names” I have held the picture and memories dear. She gave me strength that if she could be so positive and strong, I could also. Or at least, I should strive to be. My daughter’s earthly struggle ended 10 years ago but I still think of Michele, her kindness and hope Tara is doing well. With deepest sympathy…..

Deepest sympathy

To JD and family and Sterling family, So very sorry for this deep loss of Michelle. She was always smiling and such a strong woman. I will keep you all close in heart and prayers during the days that follow. May she Rest In Peace.

A woman of faith

J.D. and family: I had the privilege of knowing Michele since she was in high school. In her adult life, I came to know her as a steadfast woman of faith. In the midst of many life challenges, Michele realized that faith was not a feeling, but a choice. She consistently chose faith and lived it. I am so sorry for your deep loss and will be lifting all of you up to our merciful and loving God and Mother Mary (on whom she consistently called ) as you grieve. Dorothy Haverbusch
“Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.” St. John Chrysostom


JD and Family, I offer my most deepest sympathy and continued prayers at the incrediblly sad time in your life. May you find peace, consolation and faith that Michelle is in the loving arms of our all loving, all merciful, awesome God. Be assured of our continued prayers as time moves on. God’s peace be with all of you. Dick Maile