Lesley Swick Van Ness, former WGEM-TV news anchor, dies at 42

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Lesley Swick Van Ness, a former news anchor for WGEM and executive at Gray Television, died Monday in Naples, Fla.

Van Ness, 42, was a Hancock County native from Elvaston. She graduated from Hamilton High School and Illinois State University. She and her family were living in Morton, Illinois. She is survived by her husband, Tom, and two sons.

Jennifer Dale, VP of Recruiting at Gray Television, released the following statement:

“It is with a very heavy heart that we share some devastating news with you. Lesley Van Ness, who we have been so fortunate to have as part of the Gray family, passed away this (Monday) morning. 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. Please keep all of them in your prayers. We will keep everyone posted on arrangements.”

Van Ness had been in talent acquisition for Quincy Media and Gray Television since Sept. 2016. She started working for WGEM as a reporter in 2003, then became a weekend anchor in 2006 and a weekday evening anchor in 2008.

Hansen-Spear Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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