PORTLAND – Five sisters from around the country and Canada gathered Thursday at a tattoo parlor, where they honored the sister they lost last week.

They went to Tsunami Tattoo on Pleasant Street to have Mike Rourke give each of them a tattoo in remembrance of Robyn Hesseltine.

Hesseltine, 48, who lived in Waldoboro and drove a school bus, died Feb. 22 after a year-long battle with ovarian cancer.

Rourke worked well into Thursday night to give personalized tattoos to the five sisters, their mother and four of Hesseltine’s nieces.

“We all thought it was a great way to remember Robyn,” said the second-oldest sister, 49-year-old Barbara Osmond of Rock Hill, S.C. “It has been a real soul connection for all of us.”

“She’s probably up there laughing at all of us,” said a younger sister, Amanda Roggio, 43, of Augusta. “She would think this was pretty funny.”

Roggio, who already had a couple of tattoos, said a friend recommended Tsunami, a small but stylish parlor, as a good place to get some ink.

“I think she would think we are nuts,” Barbara Roggio of Thomaston said of her daughter, who left behind three young children who will be cared for by their father.

Roggio, 73, got her first tattoo, an Infinity, symbolizing life and love forever, on her left forearm.

The tattoo session, which began at 2 p.m., gave the family time to remember the sister who enjoyed breeding, training and showing Dobermans and Yorkshire terriers, and loved to ride and train horses.

It was their final time together before each returned home. They had gathered Wednesday at the Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home in Rockland for Hesseltine’s funeral.

The oldest sister, Cheryl Spataro, 50, of New Market, Ontario, near Toronto, said her sister was very strong-willed and independent, and a person who loved working with animals.

Spataro is a breast cancer survivor. Because of the health risks involved with getting a permanent tattoo, she got a temporary stencil tattoo.

Sharon Boucher, Hesseltine’s 46-year-old sister from Acton, Mass., got a hip tattoo depicting a dove flying toward heaven and carrying an ovarian-cancer ribbon.

The baby sister, Cathryn Pratt, 38, of Cathedral City, Calif., got an Infinity tattoo on her right calf.

Rourke agreed to come in on his day off to give personalized tattoos to all 10 of Hesseltine’s loved ones. He said, “It’s just a wonderful thing to be part of, man.”

Rourke said some of the sisters and nieces were a little nervous about getting tattooed. “I’m just telling them to breathe.”

Osmond said her sister enjoyed riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle. She was a member of the Riding Steel motorcycle club in midcoast Maine.

Osmond said the motorcycle will be sold, with the money going into an educational trust fund to benefit her children: 10-year-old Gage, 9-year-old Zeckariah and her only daughter, 8-year-old Reese.

“We have a very loving family. When someone is in need, we come together and do what we can do,” Osmond said.

The trust fund has not yet been set up, but anyone who is interested in donating can contact Amanda Roggio at 313-0371.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]