Holly Whisenhunt Stephen, 38, of Indianapolis passed away Nov. 28, 2008, in Abilene.
Holly was born Nov. 8, 1970, in Houston, to J.T. Whisenhunt and Mildred Demeris Whisenhunt. Holly was raised in east Texas and graduated from Tarleton State University in 1994 with a degree in speech. She married the love of her life, Joshua Allen Stephen, on Sept. 10, 2004, in Cancun, Mexico.
Holly pursued a career in broadcast journalism and quickly became an award-winning news producer. She spent much of her career in Texas, working for TV newsrooms in Stephenville, Waco, Austin, Houston and San Antonio. In 2005, Holly and Josh moved to Indianapolis where they both worked for NBC affiliate WTHR-TV. As executive producer of special projects and Investigations, Holly's investigative projects earned several national honors, including a prestigious Peabody award. Her award-winning news reports - as well as her words, insights, perspectives, and leadership - made a difference in people's lives. The fact that Holly was battling an aggressive cancer while fulfilling her dreams as a journalist makes her accomplishments and impact all the more remarkable.
Holly is survived by her husband, Josh, and their three English bulldogs; her mother, Mildred Kirby; two brothers, Butch and Sandy Kirby; sister-in-law Debbie Kirby; nephew Shane Kirby; uncle and aunt, John and Ella Q Reamer; and cousin Stephanie Whisenhunt. She will also be lovingly remembered by her extended family and numerous close friends. Holly was preceded in death by her father.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Dec. 13 at the S. 11th & Willis Church of Christ, 3309 S. 11th St., in Abilene under the direction of Piersall Benton Funeral Directors. A second service will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at WTHR-TV, 1000 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Holly's honor to Hendrick Hospice, 1682 Hickory St., Abilene, TX 79601, or to a scholarship fund that has been established in her memory: Holly Stephen/IRE Scholarship Fund, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Attention: Fiscal Officer, 141 Neff Annex, Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, MO 65211. (Scholarship donations can be made payable to "IRE" and should be clearly marked "Holly Stephen scholarship.") Condolences can be offered online at www.pbfuneraldirectors.com