Lesley Swick Van Ness, a former news anchor at an NBC affiliate, passed away after being hospitalized while on vacation in Florida.
NBC anchor Lesley Swick Van Ness, 42, Dies While Vacationing with Family
She Was On A Vacation
The host of WGEM-TV was vacationing with her husband, Tom, and two young boys when she became sick and passed away on Monday in Naples.
Lesley Was Considered As A Celebrity
She was an executive for its corporate parent, Gray Television, and is considered a celebrity in her hometown of Morton, Illinois.
Jennifer Dale Shared The News
Gray Television's vice president of recruiting, Jennifer Dale, stated in a statement, "It is with a heavy heart that we share some devastating news with you."
Lesley Passed Away On Monday Morning
She added, "Lesley Van Ness, who we have been so fortunate to have as part of the Gray family, passed away on Monday morning. Lesley had been on vacation with her beautiful family in Florida when she fell ill and was hospitalized last Thursday."
She Asked The Audience To Pray For The Family
"Lesley and her husband Tom have two precious young boys. Please keep all of them in your prayers. We will keep everyone posted on arrangements," she continued.
Lesley Was A Powerful Force
The journalist's colleagues have described her as a powerful force who did her job with integrity.
Her Sudden Illness
The TV host died on April 10 after suffering from a sudden illness.
Van Ness Began Her Career As An Intern
According to her LinkedIn page, Van Ness began her career as an intern at WGEM-TV before being employed by the Quincy station after graduating from Illinois State University.
She Posted About Her Last Job
She posted on LinkedIn about her last job, which she had for over nine years.
Her Promotion To Weekend Anchor
In 2006, she was promoted to weekend anchor, and in 2008, she began hosting weekday evening and late-night newscasts.
Career Changes Because Of Her Family
Van Ness changed careers in 2016 when her family priorities changed, becoming a corporate recruiter for Quincy Media, which was acquired by Gray Television in 2021.
She Was Happy With The Opportunity
"Now, I have the incredible opportunity to grow Gray's recruitment initiative into one of the best in this industry," Van Ness said on LinkedIn, where she was working as their director of talent acquisition at the time of her death.
Her Coworkers Mourned The Loss
Many of Van Ness' coworkers mourned her loss, reflecting on her influence on them personally and professionally.
She Was A Brave Woman
WGEM meteorologist Brian Inman told the station, "She wasn't afraid to do the dirty work and wasn't afraid to work the extra hour, especially if it was something that was impacting the community."
She Helped A Lot Of Journalists And Employees
A Quincy Media colleague stated she "helped countless journalists and employees find their first jobs in broadcasting, and she was the picture of health, positivity, and energy."
A Story Shared By Her Coworker
Anchor Jenise Rebholz shared a story that showed her heart. She wrote that after she announced her own pregnancy, Van Ness handed me a stack of 20+ maternity work dresses she no longer needed.
She Loved Helping Others
"She didn't ask for anything in return," Rebholz said. "She loved helping the younger generation of news people, especially women. She was a true cheerleader."
Lesley Was A Force
Natalie Will, a Lesley coworker, wrote, "From the first conversation I had with her, I knew she was a force to be reckoned with."
Lesley Will Be Missed
"She was fierce and driven, as well as loyal, compassionate, and caring," said the anchor. She will be greatly missed."