Last summer, Tammy Mattera-Housa and her sisters Gina Mattera and Michelle Hoell got matching tattoos -- the Chinese figure for "sister." For Hoell, the mark is now a permanent reminder of her 29-year-old sister, whom she described as a daring, strong woman who loved her two sons.
"I'm so glad I have it," Hoell said.
Mattera-Housa was married to Jaromir "Jeremy" Housa and had two sons, ages 9 and 2. She was raised in Warwick, R.I., and recently moved back in with her mother. Growing up, Mattera-Housa and Hoell were heavy-metal music fans, and especially liked the bands Bon Jovi and Poison.
Mattera-Housa once accepted a $5 dare to walk through a fountain -- singing -- in Boston while people watched.
"She was so full of life," Hoell said. "She wasn't afraid. ... She was fun to be around."