The WREX family says a tearful goodbye to a longtime co-worker and friend.
Jeannie Hayes passed away at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center late Thursday night. Jeannie's illness was quick, she first learned she had leukemia this past Tuesday, but because of complications her fight was short.
Originally from Louisiana, Jeannie's family moved to Granger, Indiana near South Bend, when she was young teenager.
Jeannie graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and got her first job with us at WREX in 2005.
Jeannie loved life. She was pretty much an instant friend to just about everyone she met and she loved animals.
She was passionate about television, and it really showed when she was on screen. Her smile and personality lit up your television sets for years, so imagine the effect it had on our newsroom. She was a joy to work with.
Jeannie was also a huge social media junkie. If you were a friend of Jeannie's on Facebook or a follower on Twitter, you had the joy of sharing her life with her as it was happening.
She loved posting things about her family back home in Indiana, her friends here in Rockford and her unforgettable experiences in her career including one of the greatest of her life, working on the Oprah Winfrey show in Chicago.
Jeannie's most recent career move was a unique one, allowing her a chance to reach out to the community on television and on the radio in the morning with Sean Henry on B103.
Radio may have been the place where the true Jeannie Hayes came out the most, giving the community a chance to learn what her friends and family already knew, she is one of the kindest, sweetest and most genuine people you will ever meet.
Jeannie took so much pride in every project she worked on. She produced and anchored our community affairs show, appropriately named 13 Cares, as no one seemed to "care" more about others than Jeannie did.
Jeannie Hayes leaves behind her parents, two sisters, a brother-in-law, and a 1-year-old niece. She was 29 years old.
We invite you to share your stories, pictures, other thoughts, and prayers on her Facebook Fan Page.
In lieu of flowers, you can help the family by donating to a fund set up at Riverside Community Bank.