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Former Virginia news anchor Jane Gardner dies after fifth bout with cancer

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jul 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-12 19:09:49-04

NORFOLK, Va. -- Former Virginia news anchor and Richmond native Jane Gardner died Saturday night after her fifth bout with cancer.

Gardner broke barriers in broadcast journalism for decades and got her start in 1974 working as a weather forecaster and then reporter at WSLS-TV in Roanoke. She moved to Richmond to join WTVR-TV in 1976.

In 1978 Gardner relocated to Hampton Roads to join WVEC-TV in Norfolk where she later became the first female co-anchor of the station's weeknight newscasts.

In 1990, Gardner moved to WTKR-TV in Norfolk to become the co-anchor for the station’s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. She was also a producer/anchor for the station’s “Insights” and a reporter for “Eye on Health” medical shows.

Her work garnered seven national and eight state broadcast journalism awards, as well as numerous other honors for community service.

Gardner left broadcast journalism in 1998 and became the public affairs director for the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.

She was inducted into VCU's Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 2018.

Friends said Gardner, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, seemed unbeatable after prevailing against skin cancer in 2009, ovarian cancer in 2015 and lung cancer in 2016.

“There are people who are so much worse off than me," Gardner said in a 2015 interview with WTKR about her ovarian cancer diagnosis. "I feel very fortunate that I didn’t die the first time around or the second and I’m here today having really had a really wonderful life and we’ll see what happens. A very wise man once told me, just live every day."

Gardner died at Sentara Leigh Hospital at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, according to her family.