Gina Marie Benzo

      Gina Marie Benzo, 53, of Utica New York, gained her wings on Saturday, August 6th, 2022.

    Gina was born in Utica, on April 24th, 1969, to Anthony Benzo Jr. and Darlene (Usmail) Benzo. She was a graduate of Utica Free Academy and also attended Bryant and Stratton College in Syracuse, New York.  She initially married Cornell Strickland and subsequently married Richard Hammett.

     Gina had a long career as a Loan Officer in the banking industry. Her zest for life was unmatched and she truly made the most of every moment. Gina danced to the beat of her own drum. If music, dancing, shopping, or taking pictures was involved, she was your go-to girl. Summers at Ta-Ga-Soke, sunbathing, an occasional ten-minute nap, and cooking for others were also things she enjoyed. The beauty of the ocean, sunflowers, flip-flops, “Wise chips, Heluva Good dip, cheese, and nuts” were a few of the simple things that made Gina happy. Her smile was contagious, and her personality was bigger than life. She was often lovingly referred to as a social butterfly and was always “the life of the party.” Taking care of others, especially her beloved family came easy for Gina. Her daughters, and adored granddaughter were the light of her life.

     She leaves to cherish her memory: her loving daughters, Ashley Brown of Utica and her father, Sean and Alexa Strickland, her companion Charles Jaquin, and her father, Cornell of Syracuse. Her cherished granddaughter, Raegan, who was the love of her life; her father, Anthony Benzo Jr. of Utica; her mother Darlene Usmail-Talerico and her husband, Michael of Frankfort; sister, Nicole Thompson of Florida; aunts and uncles; her favorite twin aunts, Denise Usmail of New Hartford and Diane and Carmen Dainotto of Verona Beach and Florida, Dennis and Bonnie Usmail of New Hartford and Eileen Benzo of Sauquoit; her former husband, Richard Hammett of Rome and her lifelong best friend, Elisa Fail of Utica, as well as many cousins, dear friends too numerous to mention, and her beloved Shih-Tzu Snickers who was her world.

     She was predeceased by her precious baby boy, Jordan Isiah Strickland, who she is now walking hand in hand with, her two uncles Daniel Benzo and Martin Usmail Jr., and her canine companions Barkley and Lilly.

     Visitations for family and friends is Wednesday, August 17th, 2022, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Heintz Funeral Home, 408 Herkimer Rd., North Utica, followed by a celebration of life at 5:00 p.m. at the conclusion of visitation.