Gigi Sancetta

Obituary of Gigi M. Sancetta

“5G:  Gigi Gonzalez God’s Girl Gladiator”; the  amazing saga of Gigi Sancetta

Gigi was born in 1961 in Brooklyn NY of parents Louisa and Ruben Gonzalez.   In her elementary, secondary, and high school years, she was a champion of peers being bullied. She grew up in the “jungle” of Brooklyn (her Mom’s description).  Gigi, being small and latin,  was picked on in junior high school.  But anyone who tried to attack her was surprised by her strength of character and backed off.  When she saw less fortunate schoolmates being bullied, she made herself their sheriff and neutralized the threat.

Gigi was in a rollover collision at age 16, run off the road by a truck full of drunk laborers in California, where the family had relocated to avoid the dangers of New York.   Despite a skull fracture, she pulled her dazed grandmother, aunts and brother out of the car. Powerful and determined, she was the family hero that day.  When Gigi told these stories, she always gave God the credit for her strength and her ability to overcome adversity.  A mighty prayer warrior she was, and she was confident in God answering.  God’s Gladiator.

After high school, she became a pharmacy technician and worked doing  IV admixing under the laminar hoods in hospital pharmacies. She was the top technician and relied on even for mixing chemotherapy.  On her off time she visited sick children in pediatric units.  She was naturally nurturing and comforting and could not let any child feel alone in the hospital. She also volunteered for Women in Distress, a ministry to women dealing with spousal abuse. She was determined to empower women by making them feel strong and worthy of love and respect. She overflowed with the love of Jesus towards others.

Gigi’s family life was very joyous and sweet.   Her family of origin was a large happy group and the get-togethers were frequent and full of music, dancing and laughter.   She always described with fond affection her many relatives from grandparents to cousins.   She was always close with her mom Louisa and step dad “Papo”.  Gigi’s mom married “Papo” Miguel Torres when Gigi was 8. Papo raised stepchildren Gigi and her brother Ruben and later they had her sister Marinel. Gigi’s childhood home was always a sanctuary from the evils and stresses of the outside world, and a happy vibrant place of genuine love.

Gigi met her first husband Henry Valenzuela in high school.  He admired her fearless courage, and of course her beauty and spunk.  This couple produced Gigi’s daughter, now my stepdaughter- Taneka.   Taneka was a smart and animated child and surrounded by many loving family members, so her early life was one where home was a happy safe haven.  Taneka was always a high achiever and has maintained excellent grades throughout the years, and her artistic side expresses in poetry, as well as inventing languages so she can speak in code with those in her inner circle!  

Gigi was an independent, strong willed person who set goals for herself and achieved them. 

She would work two jobs and save to obtain what was necessary for the family.   Until she got ill, she was always a major breadwinner.  Even so, she always made time to party with the family. A hard worker, and a joyous latina, she kept balance.

She had the most beautiful smile that lit up a room.   Some people have twinkling eyes, but when Gigi smiles her face twinkles.  Her moves on and off the dance floor livened everyone up.  She has a “life in motion” quality that is contagious;  being around her refreshes.   I am writing present tense because she is this way NOW, in heaven, and we who know her can feel this contagious quality alive and animating us EVEN NOW.  I am her second husband Tony Sancetta, and I have the privilege of her presence with me as I write these few sentences along with her sister Marinel and daughter Taneka.

Marinel says:  Gigi laughed with such theatrics. She could make everyone in a room laugh just by the trumpet sound of her laugh. And the jokes she would tell were hilarious!  Gigi always found a way to lighten up a serious situation. It was one of her many talents, along with singing beautifully like Gloria Estefan, and moving on the dance floor like Chita Rivera.

Gigi wore her heart on her sleeve; she had true Christlike compassion. If someone was sad, she would always try to make them feel better. She healed wounded hearts and was a true blessing in the hospitals she worked in, and everywhere she went……

Taneka says:  There is literally so much I thank this gorgeous woman for. For my life, for her unconditional love, for being my example for values and morals- always backed with confidence and conviction. For everything I am- she made me. 

My mom Gigi was sympathetic and kind while still being spicy and courageous. She was a sweetie, but  wouldn’t sugar coat, as she preferred to be a straight shooter and had a “get down to business” attitude when it came to goals or dealing with conflict. My oldest memories are of us going to churches, different kinds, from baptist to catholic, jumping and loud to methodically traditional. She so genuinely loves Jesus. I remember as a child mom would wrap me in a blanket every morning before dawn to drop me at my grandparents house. She was so determined to show me how to do things right. She sometimes worked 3 jobs to put me in a Christian preschool (Happy Day Express!)  She was my angel in life and still is now. 

My mom Gigi would always joke and say she had my back no matter what- even if I needed her to help me bury a body (kidding). She would take my side without questioning. One of the last things she said to me with complete clarity was “I’m on your side, no matter what, and never forget that!”

I won’t forget! I love you forever Mommy, all ways & always, you are my best friend FOREVER. When I couldn’t speak as a baby you told me I would mumble “I wana hold you”, and those will be my first words when we reunite!  Until then, be free, be YOU again!

Gigi is in heaven preparing the reunion for these who remain earthbound:

Daughter-Taneka Valenzuela

Mother- Louisa Torres Francheschi

Sister- Marinel Jimenez

Brother- Ruben Gonzalez

Husband- Tony Sancetta

and she’s reserving plenty of room for all her other loved ones and friends…..

Please make donations in memory of Gigi to "Women in Distress" through the following link




9:00 am - 11:00 am
Friday, May 5, 2023
Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services - TimberRidge
9695 SW 110th Street
Ocala, Florida, United States
(352) 873-4114

Funeral Mass

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Friday, May 5, 2023
Queen of Peace Catholic Church
6455 SW SR 200
Ocala, Florida, United States
(352) 854-2181


2:00 pm
Friday, May 5, 2023
Good Shepherd Memorial Gardens
5050 SW 20th St
Ocala, Florida, United States
(352) 237-2212
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