The Fort Myers LGBTQ community is mourning the loss of one of their own this week. On Monday, March 5th, community activist and entertainer Miss Vanessa Jackson passed away after collapsing. She was headed to the Hideaway Sports Bar to spend time with her longtime friend, Brian Dobson.

“She was one of the first people I met when I moved here,” says Dobson, who met Jackson as a patron of The Bottom Line. “She was an outgoing person and made me feel right at home.”

Vanessa Jackson
“Miss Vanessa Jackson was a proud person and didn’t care who knew” -Brian Dobson (Image: SWFL Pride)

Jackson had performed for nearly thirty years at the popular Fort Myers gay club, The Bottom Line. The club closed it’s doors in May of 2017, but during its run, Miss Vanessa Jackson made an impact with her passion, costumes, and philanthropy work.

According to Dobson, “Miss Vanessa had a genuine heart. She was always trying to do things for the GLBT community. She loved hosting events, supporting charities, and promoting her community. That never changed. She never charged for her charity work either. She was also famous for bringing people food and celebrating birthdays.”

Jackson was also a transgender advocate, having transitioned many years prior to her death. “She was a proud person and didn’t care who knew,” reminisces Dobson. “She always dressed as a woman and wanted to be a bigger part of the gay community.”

Jackson would have been 51 in April.

The family of Vanessa Jackson would like to formally invite all of Vanessa’s friends to join the family in the celebration of Vanessa’s Life.

The start of this celebration will be held on Friday, March 16th with a viewing from 5 pm. to 8 pm. Anyone wishing to say a few words during this time can do so.

On Saturday, March 17th at 2 pm, services will be held for Vanessa’s final performance. The family requests that everyone dress in colorful attire to honor Vanessa’s colorful life both days.

The location for this celebration is:

Hodges Funeral Home at Lee Memorial Gardens
12777 SR 82
Fort Myers, Florida 33913
Phone: 239-334-4880

In Lieu of flowers, donations to the McGregor Clinic and/or American Heart Association are greatly appreciated.