Local

Tributes pour in for Wisconsin news anchor who committed suicide years after beau died of cancer

The Wisconsin news anchor who died by apparent suicide Saturday was remembered fondly by her colleagues as a ‘beautiful person’ and an ‘incredible friend’ this week – as it was revealed she experienced a tragic heartbreak in her past.

Neena Pacholke, 27, was found dead at her apartment on Saturday – with police called to her apartment in southeast Wausau at 11am after concerned friends called 911 telling them she’d been threatening to kill herself.

Pacholke, who worked as a lead anchor at local news station WAOW, was found dead inside. It is not yet known how she took her own life.

Following the grim discovery, emotional tributes from Pacholke’s, family friends, and News 9 colleagues flooded social media – as the Wisconsin news community continues to mourn their troubled coworker.

The tributes come after it was revealed that Pacholke – a former college basketball standout the University of South Florida – experienced tragedy after her high school boyfriend succumbed a rare form of brain cancer in 2013.

She was set to marry another man, Kyle Haase, 38, in just six weeks. 

On Monday, Pacholke’s colleagues remembered their anchor for her warm personality and smile – saying that despite her inner turmoil, she was always happy, full of life and served as a positive role model to those who knew her. 

Wisconsin news anchor Neena Pacholke, who died by apparent suicide Saturday, was remembered fondly by her colleagues as a'beautiful person' and an'incredible friend' this week - as it was revealed she experienced a tragic heartbreak in her past

Wisconsin news anchor Neena Pacholke, who died by apparent suicide Saturday, was remembered fondly by her colleagues as a ‘beautiful person’ and an ‘incredible friend’ this week – as it was revealed she experienced a tragic heartbreak in her past

The tributes come after it was revealed that Pacholke - a former college basketball standout the University of South Florida - experienced tragedy after her high school boyfriend Jordan Harris (pictured with Pacholke succumbed a rare form of brain cancer in 2016.

The tributes come after it was revealed that Pacholke – a former college basketball standout the University of South Florida – experienced tragedy after her high school boyfriend Jordan Harris (pictured with Pacholke succumbed a rare form of brain cancer in 2016. 

‘Being your co-anchor Neena was an honor,’ Pacholke’s co-anchor Brendan Mackey wrote of his fellow presenter, who had been promoted to the position of morning news anchor in 2019 after two years as a reporter. ‘You were batman and I was robin.’

He recalled: ‘When I joined WAOW you made it clear we were going to work hard and compete with the best. 

‘Let’s remember Neena Pacholke for the beautiful person she was. The brightest light in the room. The biggest smile and the funniest laugh.’

The tribute, which was posted by the anchor to Facebook, was accompanied by various photos of the duo together. ‘Whether we were skiing or coming up with fun bits for the show,’ he added, ‘she always made everything more fun.’

During Tuesday’s broadcast, the station’s resident meteorologist, Justin Leow, also offered a tribute to Pacholke, shedding tears as he recalled her early days working at the station, noting how well she adapted to life in Wisconsin after moving from her native Florida in 2017 to pursue a career in journalism.

blank

‘Being your co-anchor Neena was an honor,’ Pacholke’s co-anchor Brendan Mackey (at left) wrote of his fellow presenter, who had been promoted to the position of morning news anchor in 2019 after two years as a reporter. ‘You were batman and I was robin’

blank

‘I know why I’m extra sad about Neena’s passing, and I know why you—the viewers—are also extra sad,’ Leow said while holding back tears, ‘Because she came here and she wanted to stay here.’

He remembered how the late anchor embraced her position as a Wisconsin journalist and regularly attended local events in her community.

‘She went to your veteran’s Café in Wisconsin Rapids, she went to your event, she went to your Cherokee fundraiser,’ the weatherman recalled, praising Pacholke for her positive attitude.

‘And that is something really special for someone to come here, from outside, and think that “central Wisconsin is so nice, I’m going to stay here and I’m going to work here.”‘ 

During Tuesday's broadcast, colleagues offered a tribute to Pacholke, sharing photos of her early days working at the station, noting how well she adapted to life in Wisconsin after moving from her native Florida in 2017

During Tuesday’s broadcast, colleagues offered a tribute to Pacholke, sharing photos of her early days working at the station, noting how well she adapted to life in Wisconsin after moving from her native Florida in 2017

Justin Loew WAOW shared some beautiful words about Neena this morning.

Posted by News 9 WAOW on Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Fellow News 9 Anchor Kathryn Halvorsen posted a further selection of photographs on Instagram of her and Pacholke, revealing that she had been still ‘struggling with the unexpected loss’ of her high school sweetheart, Tampa resident Jordan Harris.

‘Neena always left people better than she found them. She checked in often and put everyone else’s needs above her own. We worked opposite shifts but always made time for each other.. and sadly there is never enough time,’ Halvorsen wrote. 

Neena's co-anchor Mackey claimed his colleague was'the brightest light in the room' and praised her as'an incredible friend... a role model'

Neena’s co-anchor Mackey claimed his colleague was ‘the brightest light in the room’ and praised her as ‘an incredible friend… a role model’

‘We were looking forward to so many more *times* together. We were each other’s support system.. I am so numb to know I couldn’t save you.’

She added that Pacholke was ‘the greatest friend I never knew I needed’ and that ‘her legacy will live on.’ 

She wrote: ‘When I went to church the other day I felt your presence… I know you’re up above sunshine.’

News 9, meanwhile, released a collective statement from the station as a whole Sunday upon learning of Pacholke’s death.

‘Neena Pacholke, our beloved morning anchor passed away suddenly Saturday,’ the network wrote. ‘The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well.’

News 9, meanwhile, released a collective statement from the station as a whole Sunday upon learning of the anchor's death

News 9, meanwhile, released a collective statement from the station as a whole Sunday upon learning of the anchor’s death

Also devastated was Pacholke’s former coach at the University of South Florida, where she was a star point guard and team captain who lead her team to an impressive 25-4 record in her senior year.

‘We are devastated on the loss of former @USFWBB player Neena Pacholke,’ University of South Florida Women’s Basketball Coach Jose Fernandez wrote. 

‘Our prayers are with the Pacholke family during this extremely difficult time,’ Fernandez added. ‘Please keep them in your thoughts.’

Pacholke's older sister Kaitlynn also took to social media in the wake of her sibling's unexpected death, breaking the news to the public of the suspected suicide on Sunday.

Pacholke’s older sister Kaitlynn also took to social media in the wake of her sibling’s unexpected death, breaking the news to the public of the suspected suicide on Sunday.

Pacholke’s older sister Kaitlynn also took to social media in the wake of her sibling’s unexpected death, breaking the news to the public of the suspected suicide on Sunday.

In a heartbreaking Facebook tribute, she wrote: ‘Neena- I love you more than you could ever understand. You were my very best friend. My whole world. I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you.’

‘I know she’s not in pain anymore and I am thankful for that.’

Also devastated was Pacholke¿s former coach at the University of South Florida, where she was a star point guard and team captain who lead her team to an impressive 25-4 record in her senior year

Also devastated was Pacholke’s former coach at the University of South Florida, where she was a star point guard and team captain who lead her team to an impressive 25-4 record in her senior year

Neena Pacholke with her fiance, Kyle Haase. The pair were due to be married on October 12

Neena Pacholke with her fiance, Kyle Haase. The pair were due to be married on October 12 

Neena and her fiance, Kyle, were due to be married in just six weeks

Neena and her fiance, Kyle, were due to be married in just six weeks 

Friends said Neena planned to stay in Wisconsin and work as an anchor her'whole life'

Friends said Neena planned to stay in Wisconsin and work as an anchor her ‘whole life’ 

Her death comes just six weeks before her wedding to fiance Kyle Haase, a divorced father-of-two who is 11 years her senior. It’s unclear how long the pair had been dating.   

They were living together but he was not at home on Saturday when she died. Haase, 38, has not yet commented on her death.  

She overcame the tragedy of losing her first love, Jordan Harris, to brain cancer when the pair were still in high school. 

Neena spoke of her loss in a 2016 interview, describing how she was in the room with Jordan when he died three years earlier. He was only 18 at the time. 

She continued to fundraise for cancer research in his memory. 

Ally Peters, Neena’s best friend and former colleague, told DailyMail.com that she had come to terms with Jordan’s death but always ‘missed’ him. 

Neena Pacholke, 27, was found dead at her apartment in Wisconsin on Saturday. Her sister Kaitlynn has since confirmed her death to be a suicide

Neena Pacholke, 27, was found dead at her apartment in Wisconsin on Saturday. Her sister Kaitlynn has since confirmed her death to be a suicide

Neena was a star basketball player in high school and when she played for the University of South Florida in college

Neena was a star basketball player in high school and when she played for the University of South Florida in college 

Neena in the hospital with her high school boyfriend Jordan, shortly before his death

Neena in the hospital with her high school boyfriend Jordan, shortly before his death 

Neena relived the heartache of losing Jordan in this 2016 interview. Friends told DailyMail.com that while she missed him, she had come to terms with his death when she died

Neena relived the heartache of losing Jordan in this 2016 interview. Friends told DailyMail.com that while she missed him, she had come to terms with his death when she died 

She said she loved her job wit WAOW Channel 9 in Wisconsin, and that she planned to stay there ‘her entire life’. 

‘It’s so hard for the community to comprehend what happened because she put on a smile and showed p every morning on the desk. You would think she was the happiest person. 

‘She had a lot going on behind the scenes. It’s hard for people to understand but that’s what happens with depression and mental health. It was an on and off thing that we dealt with as her friends. We supported her, but she also hid it pretty well.

‘It just goes to show you never know what’s going on in someone’s head. I never knew the depths of her despair and sadness,’ she said. 

She said that Neena’s issued mental health struggles become significantly worse in the last few months but that she ‘never thought’ she would take her own life.

‘It seemed to me like that she had gotten through a lot and she seemed happy for the most part.’

In a statement on its website, WAOW, the network she worked for, said: ‘The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well. 

‘Neena loved this community and the people who lived here. 

‘She was a kind person with a big heart and a contagious smile and we will miss her greatly. 

Neena with her sister Kaitlynn, who confirmed she died by suicide on Saturday

Neena with her sister Kaitlynn, who confirmed she died by suicide on Saturday 

Neena with her beloved cat. She is believed to have lived alone in her apartment in Wisconsin

Neena with her beloved cat. She is believed to have lived alone in her apartment in Wisconsin 

Pacholke was a high school and college basketball star but she turned down offers to play professionally to work in news instead

Pacholke was a high school and college basketball star but she turned down offers to play professionally to work in news instead

Pacholke was a high school and college basketball star but she turned down offers to play professionally to work in news instead 

‘We ask you to please keep her family in your thoughts at this time as we all cope with the loss.

‘We will have much more on the life and legacy Neena had later in the week.’ 

Her family is now raising money on GoFundMe.  

‘Neena radiated light and love wherever she went. She was a force of kindness, and her laughter and smile were contagious.

‘She was a beloved morning news anchor at WAOW in Wausau, Wisconsin and inspired her community with her storytelling and positivity.

‘We have created this GoFundMe to help collect donations for the Pacholke family as they make funeral preparations. 

‘Any amount helps and we would appreciate your memories of Neena in the comments below. 

‘Any additional money will go to mental health resources,’ the page description reads. 

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the 24hr National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741; or chat with someone online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11162681/Tributes-pour-Wisconsin-news-anchor-committed-suicide-years-beau-died-cancer.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Tributes pour in for Wisconsin news anchor who committed suicide years after beau died of cancer

Andrew Kugle

WSTPost is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@wstpost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button