A “barrier busting” local real estate professional and long-time radio station employee, who was named a “Living Treasure” in the city of London this past April, passed away over the weekend.
Frances Wilhoit, 81, of London, died on Sunday following a battle with cancer.
In London, she was respected as a devoted community servant, and beloved by many for her kind demeanor and positive outlook.
Wilhoit served as General Manager of WWEL FM, WANV FM, and WFTG AM/FM in London from 1992 through 2005 for Forcht Broadcasting. She was one of the first women ever to manage a Forcht Broadcasting radio market. Since 2005, she served as an Account Executive at the stations.
Forcht Broadcasting serves communities with 25 radio stations in nine markets in three states — Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.
“She’s really been the matriarch of the station for everyone,” said David Begley, News Director and on-air morning show host for the stations. “She’s a long time fixture. It’s hard to imagine her not being there.”
Wilhoit left working in radio only about a month and a half before her death. She never retired and always had plans to return. Her prodigious work ethic — which included long hours, often at odd times — endeared her to Forcht Group of Kentucky founder and Chairman Terry E. Forcht.
“Frances was always very dependable. She was on my early morning call list,” Forcht said Tuesday. “She and I were born the same year and I think both of us always felt like you need to get up and get going if you are going to maintain your health.”
“We always thought a lot of her and I am very sorry she is gone.”
In April, Wilhoit was honored by the city of London as a “Living Treasure.” Those given the award “embody the values of the region” and “live respectable and honorable personal and professional” lives.
“She was a goodwill ambassador for us. She would go to everything … chamber meetings, ribbon cuttings; every event going on in town,” said Mike Tarter, President and CEO of Forcht Broadcasting. “There were so many people that knew her and really loved her in this community. We just thought the world of her.”
“Frances was dedicated to the company and she loved to work,” Tarter added. “Going home to retire was just not in her vocabulary. She loved to work and we will miss having her around.”
Wilhoit made a name for herself in the mid-1970s by breaking into the predominantly male-dominate real estate sales and brokering career after serving for years as a fountain manager at Begley Drug Company. After switching over to radio full-time, she still maintained her realtor license.
Wilhoit worked for Forcht Broadcasting for 27 years before her death.
Bowling Funeral Home, in London, is handling funeral arrangements for Wilhoit. A visitation and remembrance time will be held Saturday, at the funeral home, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Funeral will be at noon.