Joe Rosier's personality is as varied as the selection of stories that he performs to his enthralled audiences. This year Rosier served as the featured storyteller at the Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts.
Rosier's winding life led him to Seminole County and life as a self-professed Florida cracker. But, truth be known, this Florida cracker is actually a Northerner ... a "transplant" who moved to Florida from Wisconsin as a young man when his father retired to Floral City in the late 1950'S.
The soft-spoken, silver-haired attorney does not come across as a backwoods country boy like his "Country" moniker would lead you to believe. In his casual and comfortable law office which adjoins his house, the 50-something Rosier is all business. Several clocks are up on he wall to indicate the different time zones that his clients are in across the country and law books line the wall. Still, the office does reflect his love for country things; there are several horse figurines on the wooden bookshelves in his office, a rustic wooden desk and a large picture window behind his desk overlooking the trees and thick brush on his three-and-one-half-acre Lake Mary property.
"I put my desk in front of this window so that when a client is sitting here talking to me about business, he feels relaxed from looking at the trees," said Rosier.
Rosier's friendly persona comes across when he starts spinning his yarns in his storytelling sessions.
"Storytelling is really a combination of many things,'' said Rosier. "I write about 60 percent of my own material. Actually, write is the wrong word. The stories are more of a creation, and not something that I sit down and physically write. Things just come out when you tell stories. . .
. . .Storytelling combines a lot of elements--acting, writing, public speaking and emotions."
The skills involved in this storytelling process are also very helpful when practicing law, says Rosier.
"When I am working on a jury trial I think 'hmmm ... how can I present the material to the jury?' and the material gestates--like a story."
Rosier says that practicing law is his first love because he knows he can have an impact on people's lives.
"I have known many young attorneys just starting out who became disillusioned with a law career because it is different for some reason than they thought it would be," Rosier said. "I knew that if I was going to be a lawyer, I had to make a difference so that the work would be satisfying to me."
This drive to make a difference is evident in the public work that Rosier has been involved in, including a period of being a Judge in Maitland from 1972-1976. He also tries to impart his love of the legal arts by speaking at high schools to students about constitutional law. Still, it amazes him that many young people do not want to take advantage of their right to vote and get involved.
Rosier did not always aspire to be a lawyer, however. After graduating from the University of Florida in 1960 with a Business degree ("there were only 9,000 students at UF when I started!"). Rosier entered the publishing field. The Citrus County Chronicle, a weekly newspaper, was his first employer out of college where Rosier, "did everything from writing the articles to selling the ads." Later, Rosier became the advertising manager at The Florida Catholic, an Orlando-based newspaper. . .
. . .Rosier returned to the University of Florida law school in 1968 at the age of 31. He has been practicing law for 25 years. (Now 28 years).
Rosier feels very strongly that people need to get more involved in their communities and he Rosier practices what he preaches. Even with managing his busy law practice and a mail-order horse figurines company started by his father 41 years ago, Rosier makes time for community work. He tries to always be involved in at least one or two community organizations. At this time he is focusing his attention on the American Cancer Society, where he is the president of the local chapter. He is also a member of the Winter Park Toastmasters.
"Everyone who has to speak before a group should be in Toastmasters," he insists.
Indeed, his resume of past civic work includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts, as past president the Central Florida Storyteller Guild, and past president of the Lake Mary Chamber of Commerce.
He also served on the Board of the March of Dimes for 11 years and is a past vice-president of the Orlando Jaycees. You may have even seen Rosier in the courthouse at Christmas time with a child on his knee volunteering as Santa Claus.
One position that was most dear to his heart was the position of Chairman of the Commission on Children--a position he was appointed to by the Seminole County Commission, a group dedicated to studying the needs of the area's children.
"I've traveled all over the world and I always come back home and think that this is the nicest place that you could live," said Rosier in describing his life in Seminole County.