Family and friends honor life of Syracuse cheerleader

Monday , August 18, 2014 - 1:54 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

LAYTON — Two lines formed in the shape of what appeared to be a heart at Marli Hamblin’s viewing, Sunday evening.

Hundreds of people met inside Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 N. Fairfield Road, to honor the life of 15-year-old Marlise (Marli) Saige Hamblin, who died earlier this month.

Hamblin was accidentally run over in her driveway while sunbathing on Aug. 8. She died at the hospital two days later and her family donated her organs in order to give life to others.

While her family greeted Marli’s close friends, relatives and those in line stood silently watching a slideshow. Pictures of Marli posing with family or by herself as a young girl flashed before her cousin’s teary eyes.

“I would be outside with my friends and Marli would be outside with her somewhere else and you would just hear this shrieking laugh — I’m like ’oh my gosh, that’s Marli’. You could hear it all the way down the street,” said neighbor and cousin, Brinlee Hamblin, who is only 6-months apart from Marli. “(She was) the life of the party.”

Brinlee Hamblin remembers she and Marli never got along as children because of their competitive nature. “But then we grew up,” she said with a smile and tears streaming down her cheeks as a picture of she and Marli hugging in front of a soccer goal passed.

“She was just always happy and made everything more fun,” said tearful Takenna Hamblin, another cousin of Marli’s. “We just love her and miss her.”

It was evident the Syracuse teen and high school cheerleader was loved by everyone.

“The family continues to express the love that they feel from the community that’s being poured out in so many dozens of ways,” Lindquist Mortuary General Manager Craig McMillan told the Standard-Examiner on Sunday afternoon, “from the fundraisers to the calls at home.” 

Many athletes attended the viewing, as well as classmates and close family-friends.

“She looked out for people — made sure we were happy,” said Shauni Eames, who has been friends with Marli since elementary school. Eames’ extended family came to support since they have known the Hamblins for generations having grown up just a mile apart.

“Teal was her favorite color,” said Brinlee Hamblin playing with her teal-colored wristband that read: Marli’s Miracle. In fact, many attendees sported the same wristband as well as the bracelet and social media tag ’#SyracuseStrong’ in memory of the other three Syracuse High School students and alumnus who passed away this summer — Ariah Bosworth and Daulton and Jaxon Whatcott.

Her cheer team held a fundraiser for the Hamblin family to help with medical bills and funeral expenses. A sunset was the backdrop to the thousand balloons launched into the evening sky, Saturday night.

The team has been practicing together only since April, but they have already formed a family bond that compelled the team to do something, coach Stephanie Bowen said the night of the fundraiser.

“Marli never complained,” said SHS cheerleader and senior, Jerika Skidmore, at her teammate’s viewing. “She was strong, physically and mentally.”

By the end of Saturday night, more than $10,000 was raised for the Hamblin family, event organizer Denise Taylor said.

Donations for the family are still being accepted at the “Miracle for Marli“ GoFundMe site.

A funeral service will be held in her honor Monday, Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. at the Syracuse West State Center, 1600 S. 4500 West, Syracuse.

Condolences may be sent to the family at:

Contact reporter Morgan Briesmaster at 801-625-4268 or Follow her on Twitter at @SE_mbriesmaster. Like her Facebook page at

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