NBC anchor Lesley Swick Van Ness, 42, Dies While Vacationing with Family

Asma Irshad
Lesley Swick Van Ness sharing news on WGEM TV
twitter | News Nancy

Lesley Swick Van Ness, a former news anchor at an NBC affiliate, passed away after being hospitalized while on vacation in Florida.

She Was On A Vacation

lesley swick van ness posing with her husband and two sons
twitter | Breaing Trend News

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

Late Lesley Swick Van Ness smiling and posing for the camera at the set of WGEM
twitter | Breaking Trends News

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

Jennifer Dale, Gray Television's vice president of recruiting
twitter | Jennifer Dale

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

Lesley Swick anchoring the show while wearing black coat
twitter | Dr. James E. Olsson

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 Swick Van Ness and her husband smiling and posing for a picture while wearing jackets and sun glasses
twitter | New York Post

"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

Lesley Swick smiling at the camera wile wearing red lipstick and shirt
twitter | Annabel

The journalist's colleagues have described her as a powerful force who did her job with integrity. 

Her Sudden Illness

Lesley Swick Van Ness smiling with open teeth
twitter | New York Post

The TV host died on April 10 after suffering from a sudden illness.

Van Ness Began Her Career As An Intern

Lesley Van Ness sharing news while wearing a Pink Blazer
twitter | Tom Ask Up

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

Unsplash | Souvik Banerjee

She posted on LinkedIn about her last job, which she had for over nine years.

Her Promotion To Weekend Anchor

Lesley Career Changes uploaded on her LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn | Lesley Van Ness

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

goals and career
Giphy | Denyse®

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

Lesley Swick Van Ness enjoying and smiling while posing for a picture
twitter | New York Post

"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

Unsplash | Siegfried Poepperl

Many of Van Ness' coworkers mourned her loss, reflecting on her influence on them personally and professionally.

She Was A Brave Woman

brave woman
Giphy | Sura Karnawi

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

helping others
Unsplash | Tim Marshall

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

Jenise Rebholz, a coworker of Lesley Van Ness
twitter | Jenise Rebholz

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

helping other
Unsplash | Austin Kehmeier

"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 coworker of Lesley
twitter | Natalie Will

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

you will be missed
Unsplash | Daniel Hooper

"She was fierce and driven, as well as loyal, compassionate, and caring," said the anchor. She will be greatly missed."