Gina Marie Dellosso always wanted to dance, her mother said. At 2 years old, the North Babylon native was out with her parents when she caught a glimpse of students dancing in a studio. She was immediately fascinated with the movement going on inside.
“We wanted to find out how old you had to be to dance,” her mother, Lora Dellosso, 61, of West Babylon, said. “She was not quite potty trained yet. They said, 'Well, as long as she’s potty trained and doesn’t need diapers, she can dance.’ When we told her that, she ripped off her diaper and never put it back on, and she danced.”
Gina Marie Dellosso, an elementary school teacher and musician, died March 22 at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip after a 2½year battle with breast cancer, her family said. She was 35 and lived in West Islip.
“Gina was pure joy,” said longtime friend Alanna Cameron, 30, of Commack. “She loved to laugh and joke around. She enjoyed every aspect of life.”
Music always played a big role in Dellosso’s life. She was the lead singer of the Christian music group, Crossing Jordan, which she formed more than 15 years ago with her brothers, Mark John, of Amityville, and Christian, of Hewlett. The group traveled the northeast, playing for Christian youth groups and camps. They produced two albums and distributed them independently.
For Dellosso, the band was a way to share her faith and showcase her talent, said her brother, Mark John, 32.
“Whenever she did talent shows in elementary schools, the whole school would be talking about her and how great her voice was,” he said. “She was making an impact, even being that young.”
Born April 18,1984 at Huntington Hospital, Dellosso went to high school at the Smithtown Christian School and graduated in 2002. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Five Towns College in Dix Hills and two master’s degrees, one in literacy from Dowling College in Oakdale and another in English as a second language from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, her mother said.
Over her 10-year teaching career, Dellosso worked as a permanent substitute in the Freeport Union Free School District, taught third and fourth grades at the West Sayville Christian School, and most recently, was a reading specialist at Unqua Elementary School in Massapequa, Lora Dellosso said.
Guided by her strong faith, Dellosso went on mission trips to Brazil, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Greece. While on those missions, she taught worship, dance and fed refugees, her mother said.
“She impacted the world,” Lora Dellosso said of her daughter. “Wherever she went, people loved her.”
Cameron added: “She really cared about people. She really had compassion for people that were in need of love.”
Dellosso was involved in the Heart of Worship Church, where her father, Mark, also of West Babylon, and her mother serve as pastors. She led a dance team at the church and organized a fall festival for local families.
In addition to her parents and brothers, Dellosso is survived by 1-year-old niece, Alina. The family had a small, private celebration of life on March 27 and will have a memorial service at a later date, Lora Dellosso said. She was buried at North Babylon Cemetery.