Ross Travis Lightfoot is described by his family and friends as a carefree and loving person who always put others before himself.
Sports was a way of life for Ross and his family. Although he played many sports, baseball was at the top of the list. Lisa Thompson, Ross’ aunt, said baseball was a family affair.
“My dad coached him at a young age in t-ball all the way through high school,” Thompson said. “My brother was a high school coach so my brother coached him in high school. Baseball was life for us — that’s what we live and breathe around here.”
Thompson said some of her fondest memories of her nephew Ross came from his days playing baseball.
“Baseball had to be the best memories of all with him,” Thompson said. “He was really good at any sport he played. I loved watching Ross play sports.”
Although he loved to play baseball and competed at a junior college nearby, Ross’ passion and love for Texas A&M was always strong, making his decision to transfer to Aggieland and leave competitive baseball behind an easy choice.
“He loved A&M from the time he could talk; he knew he wanted to go to Texas A&M,” Thompson said. “He wouldn’t come home on thanksgiving because he was at the A&M game. It was just normal. So, we would have to facetime him for thanksgiving because that’s where he was.”
Another sport Ross loved was snowboarding. Ross’ mother, Gayle Lightfoot, said snowboarding was a sport he always made time for.
“He loved to snowboard,” Lightfoot said. “That was his passion — what he loved to do. He talked about moving up [to Colorado] when he got out of school so he could snowboard all the time.”
Both Ross’ mother and aunt said learning came naturally to him, a trait which helped as a computer engineering major.
“He was very very smart,” Thompson said. “Always intelligent … He was always a straight-A student, top of his class in high school."
Heath Donaldson, Ross’ childhood best friend, said Ross’s intelligence and ability to socialize despite having a heavy course was something that always amazed him.
“Another thing that always got me was how dang smart he was without even trying,” Donaldson said. “He easily graduated third in our class in high school. I mean I’ve always made good grades, but he would just show up after not studying and ace everything. He had to have had one of the most active social lives in the computer engineering department for sure.”
His aunt describes Ross as a person who was always willing to help someone in need but never asked for anything in return. Thompson said he was an independent soul.
“He didn’t want people to worry [about him],” Thompson said. “He didn’t want people to help him if he needed anything. He just was just a great guy never asked for anything. He didn’t want you to put yourself in a bind trying to help him.”
Donaldson said he couldn’t think of a time in his life where he and Ross weren’t enoying themselves just spending time together.
“He has just always been there in my life,” Donaldson said. “He’s in a majority of the memories I have. He was just always so funny and fun to be around and never got bothered by anything. Every single memory that comes to mind of a time we had together, or anything that he did I just remember we were always laughing and having a blast. He was hilarious and didn’t even mean to be, because he would just say whatever came to mind no matter how random or off the wall it was.”