An unexpected death occurred while a former Illinois news anchor and her family were on vacation. 42 years old. Lesley Swick Van Ness was on vacation with her family when she suddenly fell ill and was taken to the hospital on April 6, according to NBC affiliate WGEM. She passed away the following Monday, April 10. According to her obituary, Van Ness died in Naples, Florida.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Van Ness began working at WGEM in 2003 as a reporter and quickly established a successful career there. She progressed to weekend anchor by 2006. She worked as a weekday evening anchor in 2008. She started working as a corporate recruiter for Quincy Media in 2016, a media company that Gray Television eventually purchased.
Gray Television’s vice president of recruiting Jennifer Dale provided Muddy River News with a statement on April 12 regarding her passing.
“We must break some heartbreaking news to you, and we do so with great sadness. The statement from Dale read, “Lesley Van Ness, who we have been so fortunate to have as a member of the Gray family, passed away this morning. “Lesley and Tom have two adorable little boys. Please remember them in your prayers as a group. Everyone will be informed of the arrangements.
On April 12, a segment of the show featured comments from Van Ness’s former coworkers about their time working with her. When asked about her relationship with Van Ness, anchor Natalie Will revealed that the two had both started as interns at WGEM on the same day.
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Will appeared upset as she talked about her deceased coworker. Lesley was an outstanding journalist. Before breaking down in tears, she remarked,
“She was a leader in the newsroom. I didn’t think this was going to be difficult, so I’m sorry.”
Matt Schmidt, a different ex-colleague from WGEM, said Van Ness was a person who was simple to get along with. He said, “You know, she spoke up and was not afraid to say things. She was very commanding of the room.” Our personalities “just clicked” together.
Van Ness’ obituary calls her an “exceptional mother and wife” who worked to open doors for aspiring journalists all over the country through fellowship programs and paid internships.
The obituary stated, in part, “She was a determined parent who taught her children the importance of reading, safety, learning, and loving.” Despite their boys’ occasional lack of enthusiasm, she and her husband wanted to raise the most well-rounded young men they could.