Jackson Lightfoot Whitsett of Charlottesville, Virginia, formerly of Montclair, a competitive cheerleading coach, dancer and choreographer, died on Jan. 17, 2023. He was 27.

Mr. Whitsett was born in 1995 in Livingston. He attended Glenfield Middle School, where he founded the first middle school Gay/Straight Alliance, now known as the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. 

He graduated in 2013 from Montclair High School, where he was captain of the cheerleading team and was known for his gameday gymnastics and enthusiastic performances. He was also a gifted dancer and choreographer with the Montclair High School Dance Company. 

During high school, he worked for the Montclair YMCA as a dance and cheerleading instructor and as a Camp at the Lake counselor.

In 2013, Mr. Whitsett moved to Atlanta to become a competitive cheerleader and cheerleading coach with Stingrays Gym. He coached many teams, including the World Championship Grape team. During this time he attended Kennesaw State University and Chattahoochee Technical College. 

He moved to Nashville to coach while he worked as a manager at Turnip Truck. He also traveled the country choreographing for countless cheer teams. Mr. Whitsett  moved to Charlottesville six months ago and worked at Marigold Restaurant in Keswick, Virginia. 

He was a lifetime member of the NAACP and was baptized in 2011 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Charlottesville. 

Mr. Whitsett is survived by his mother, Margaret Jackson Whitsett of Montclair; his father, Bernard Whitsett II of Charlottesville; brothers, Bernard and Neal; aunts, Bernadette Whitsett-Hammond and Joselyn Whitsett-Bell of Charlottesville; extended family and legions of friends from all over the country.

A memorial service will be held at the Women’s Club of Montclair at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25.

Gifts to honor his life may be made to the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence: Jackson Lightfoot Whitsett Memorial Fund to support the work of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance at Glenfield Middle School: givebutter.com/jlwfund or to MFEE (with JLWMF in the memo) at 100 Chestnut St., Montclair, NJ 07042.