Television lost an enormous talent when a Rockford, Illinois journalist and Michiana native passed away last week after a sudden illness.
Jeannie Hayes was a Penn High School graduate and a former WNDU intern, but to those who knew her well she was a hard worker, a compassionate reporter, and a friend.
Newscenter 16’s Tricia Sloma and Maureen McFadden remember the local girl who left a lasting impression.
While at Penn High School, Jeannie took a telecommunications class that introduced her to the industry that she loved. She then went on to college at Marquette and began interning at WNDU.
She landed television jobs in Rockford, Illinois, and behind the scenes at the Oprah Winfrey Show. In addition to producing and anchoring, Jeannie recently took on radio broadcasting.
It was not until last week that signs of illness began to surface. She became very ill and was diagnosed with a rare form of acute Leukemia. Within that short span of time, Jeannie fell into a coma and never recovered.
Her coworkers at WREX had the difficult task of sharing the news with their viewers, but they put together a weekend memorial to allow the Rockford community to say goodbye.
She was very close with her family in Granger and kept in touch with many of her Penn High School friends, she leaves behind her parents, two sisters, a brother-in-law, and a one-year-old niece.
Jeannie is being remembered at a visitation today at St. Pius Catholic Church in Granger until 8 p.m., and again tomorrow morning at 9:30 and 10:15. Following tomorrow’s visitation, a mass of Christian burial will take place at 10:30 a.m.