HomeNewsNBC Anchor Dies While Vacationing With Family: ‘She Was A Celebrity’

    NBC Anchor Dies While Vacationing With Family: ‘She Was A Celebrity’

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    A prominent anchor from an Illinois affiliate of NBC has passed away while on vacation with her family in Florida.

    Lesley Swick Van Ness, an anchor for WGEM-TV and executive for its parent company, Gray Television, purportedly fell ill and was hospitalized on Monday while on vacation in Florida with her husband and two sons. She passed away soon after.

    “In the eyes of a small community, she was a celebrity,” Tom and Neat Brower wrote in response to an online obituary, as reported by the New York Post.

    “It is with a very heavy heart that we share some devastating news with you,” Jennifer Dale, the vice president of recruiting at Gray Television, said in a statement. “Lesley Van Ness, who we have been so fortunate to have as part of the Gray family, passed away this (Monday). Lesley had been on vacation with her beautiful family in Florida when she fell ill and was hospitalized last Thursday.”

    “Lesley and her husband Tom have two precious young boys,” the statement added. “Please keep all of them in your prayers. We will keep everyone posted on arrangements.”

    ”She was a powerful personality,” said Matt Schmidt, who was one of Van Ness’ colleagues at WGEM-TV. “She could walk into the newsroom and instantly take over. She just had a commanding presence about her. Sitting on the news desk was an awesome experience.”

    “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 really impacting the community,” said WGEM-TV meteorologist Brian Inman.

    The New York Post added the following about Van Ness’ history:

    According to her LinkedIn page, Van Ness, a graduate of Illinois State University, began her career as a reporter at WGEM-TV, the NBC affiliate in Quincy, Illinois, in 2003. In 2006, she began working as a weekend anchor. Two years later, she was serving as the weekday evening and late-night news anchor.

    Then, Van Ness transitioned to the corporate sector of the enterprise. She was appointed talent acquisition specialist for Quincy Media in 2016. Gray Television acquired Quincy Media in 2021, resulting in a network of local television stations in 113 markets.

    The CBS Fresno news anchor Brian Dorman tweeted, “I’m at a loss for words. I grew closer to Lesley over the past year as I pursued career advancement. She was fast to make me laugh, offered excellent advice, and was incredibly enthusiastic about the business! This is astonishing!”

    Jamie Bittner, a national correspondent for Gray DC News, said: “Heartbreaking loss. Lesley helped recruited me. She was a class act. I hope she knew what she meant to me & countless other journalists who simply needed someone to open a door for them. I’ll always remember her talent, kindness & drive. She will be missed.”

    More on this story via Conservative Brief:

    Journalist Bret Buganski tweeted: “Sad to hear about the passing of Lesley Swick Van Ness. One of the 1st people I met as a rookie in Quincy. We were competitors but not only was she a great journalist, she was a better person. Always loved when we sang Don Henley ‘dirty laundry’ at karaoke at the Abbey.” CONTINUE READING…

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