The TV presenter from Wisconsin who apparently committed suicide had previously suffered a sad loss, when her high school lover passed away in 2016 from a rare form of brain cancer.
Less than two months before her wedding, Neena Pacholke had to say goodbye to her first love, Jordan Harris, who had died at the age of 18.
Harris died in 2012, just before he and his friend were set to begin their first year at the University of South Florida. He had been diagnosed with primitive neuroectodermal tumors in 2011.
In an interview published by Moffitt Cancer Center in 2016, three years after Harris’s death, the WAOW anchor, who passed away on Saturday and was remembered for her contagious grin and cheerful energy, talked about losing her first love.
Simply, we were sitting around him and I recall feeling quite still. At the end, I recall holding his hand. Even though I knew it was going to be tough, I assured him I would be there for him no matter what, Pacholke added.
Pacholke said in the film that he and Harris first became friends in high school biology class, when they both enrolled.
Her blog at the time was named “Kids Get Cancer Too,” and in it, Pacholke discussed her relationship with her boyfriend and her desire to see more money allocated to research into childhood cancer.
A rare form of brain cancer took the life of the man I loved thirteen months and eighteen days ago. She explained in one entry that her inspiration for writing about relationships came from him.
Before his death, Harris, Pacholke’s boyfriend, was diagnosed with primitive neuroectodermal tumors.
According to an article in The Oracle, the student newspaper at the University of South Florida, Pacholke’s fundraising and volunteer efforts for cancer research continued even after his death.
Pacholke told the media that she remembered Harris whenever she felt down after she had recently lost her partner the year before.
You’ll still have difficult days, but everything happens for a purpose, she remarked. While I do have my doubts about that, I do believe it will help you grow as a person. It’s a bummer that you can’t keep in touch via text messages, but at least I have his ethics to ponder during the day.
As Pacholke began her freshman year on the university’s women’s basketball team, the head coach assisted her through her sadness.
In 2016, USF women’s basketball head coach Jose Fernandez remarked, “Neena and Jordan had a special link and a lot of people don’t understand that relationship, especially as young adults and the love that they had for one another in high school.”
Three years into her collegiate basketball career at the University of South Florida, Pacholke earned her degree and immediately began working as a reporter for News 9.
According to her official website, she was elevated to anchor in February of 2019.
The squad was “devastated” to hear of Pacholke’s death, according to the young reporter’s former coach.
The Pacholke family is in our thoughts and prayers at this most trying time. In a tweet, Fernandez asked for people to keep the family in their thoughts.
Colleagues at News 9 agreed with Pacholke.
Our beloved morning anchor, Neena Pacholke, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday,” 9 WAOW announced. The entire News 9 staff is heartbroken by the tragedy, and we expect many others feel the same way.
Her co-anchor gushed about how wonderful an example Pacholke was to many people because to her sunny disposition and infectious grin.
It was a pleasure to serve as your co-anchor, Neena. It was like you were Batman and I was Robin. Her co-anchor Brendan Mackey wrote on Facebook, “When I joined WAOW you made it obvious we were going to work hard and compete with the best.” Let us always hold Neena Pacholke in our hearts as the lovely lady she was. The spotlight of attention. The brightest grin and the most infectious cackle.
Kaitlynn Pacholke, Pacholke’s older sister, told the Tampa Bay Times that the couple planned to get married in less than two months from the time of her death. Their wedding is scheduled for October 12, according to the couple’s online wedding registry.