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Oral History Interview with Industrial Engineer Joseph P. Stine

My name is Joe Stine or Joseph Paul Stine I was born in Sanford, Florida in 1934. We moved to Orlando in 1939.

Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part I  (18:10)

How did your family happen to decide to come to this area?

On my mother’s side, they came to Florida in the 1880’s and then my grandfather moved to Sanford, Florida in 1915 with his brothers and two sisters who lived there then. He became a celery farmer. My father was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Charleston, West Virginia. He became a tractor salesman  for Gravely Tractor who manufactures in Charleston, West Virginia and was traveling around the country selling tractors made by Gravely. And he ended up in Sanford, Florida specifically for celery growers there so they would have what they called a Gravely on Wheel Tractor. And that was in 1925 that he showed up in Sanford, Florida and said, “I can hunt and fish all year around in Florida and I’m staying.” And he did. He stayed. So that’s what kind of brought us to Florida anyhow, the family to Florida.

What was a typical Sunday like you for you growing up?

A Sunday always was Sunday School and Church. When we moved to Orlando we became members of First Presbyterian Church. And it was Sunday School in the morning and Church and then had Sunday dinner. Later on, we lived on Park Lake and we had a big home on Park Lake with a dining room facing the lake and all. We had Sunday dinner at home. One of the memories though about Sunday is we’d go out to the Leu home and be with them. And, particularly when it was a season for the camellias and enjoy them. Like the community did, they drove around. There was a loop that passed around the gardens and around the house and then exited back on Forest Street where people could be in their cars and see many of the flowers. But we’d go out there, the three of us. I had an older brother, Bob, and a younger brother, John, and we’d roll down the hill in front of that in our Sunday clothes which were white: white shorts and white shirt. Mother made the white shirts. I don’t think she made the shorts. But, of course, rolling down the green grass in white you end up with green shirts also. So there was a problem getting them clean. So that was part of Sundays.

And you said Mr. Leu, so that would be Mr. Harry P. Leu?

Harry P. Leu, yes, and Mary Jane, his wife, who were my father’s employers.

So what did your parents do for a living?

Well, my mother was always a homemaker, a mother and a homemaker. My dad, when he came to Sanford that’s a good place to start with, he went to work for Sanford Machinist Supply Company where he was their bookkeeper. He had spent some time in a bank in Charleston, West Virginia, and learned bookkeeping and such. So he was capable doing that, but he was also a salesman and a troubleshooter for the Sanford Machinist Supply Company; that was about the time the Florida boom ended in 1925. But the Depression, of course, nationwide started in 1929. My father worked for Sanford Machinist Supply until they let him go in 1933 because of the Depression.  And then he went to work for Mr. Leu in 1933… He became salesman for Mr. Leu in the Seminole County area selling industrial supplies to the packing houses that were citrus and vegetable packing houses in Seminole County. And, of course, that was the business of Harry P. Leu, Incorporated. 

And one of the items that they sold was your dad’s patent, right?

Dad had invented in the 30’s and his patent was in 1937 for what was called Stine Takes All Plant Truck which was used to move the fruit boxes, the field boxes, orange citrus that we harvested when the fruit was picked they were placed in a field box which is 90 pounds of fruit. Those were loaded onto a track and then came to a packing house and moved about the packing house on trucks, hand trucks. But it was difficult to lead the existing hand truck. And Dad invented one that clamped around the stacks of four high, or five high depending on the size of the truck. And a box weighed 90 pounds. So you put four boxes on a clamp truck, it’s what 4 x 90, 360 pounds. So he invented this truck. It was patented in 1937.

Stine Takes All Plant Track from the 1943 catalog for Harry P. Leu. Orlando resident Paul Stine designed the truck patented in 1937.

Sanford Machinist Supply Company

We were building them in the shed behind our house in Sanford on Summerlin Avenue. And then when we moved to Orlando in 1939, he had to find some place else to build them. And he rented a building there in Sanford, but later he bought Sanford Machinist Supply Company’s property. They had subsequently gone bankrupt. He bought the property on the courthouse steps for $1800 dollars, I believe. The property and the machinery. And he and his brother George from Charleston, West Virginia became partners in that business. And George Stine ran it in Sanford and Dad was here in Orlando. So that was the main business of that machine shop as well as being a machine shop for all of the farmers in Sanford, was to build the Stine Takes All Clamp Truck which I have a picture here. That write up comes from the 1943 catalog for Harry P. Leu, Inc. I also, in looking through some of my things of Dad found his drawings here that, I believe, are what he actually sent to the patent office to get his patent. Now I don’t know that. But this is the one that shows his drawing and gives you a description of what the truck is.

1934 drawing for the Stine Plant Truck patented in 1937.

So what was your dad like? I mean he must have been brilliant to get this sort of mechanical ingenuity, right?

Well, he was, but that goes back in the family. His grandfather was a blacksmith. His father was a carpenter. And now, he comes and has a mechanical ability all to himself. He did not go to college. In fact, originally, he didn’t complete high school. He quit in the fifth grade. His father was killed when he was nine years old so there was responsibility, he and his three other brothers, to take care of their mother. So he quit school in the tenth grade. And then WWI came along. He was drafted for WWI. It was late in the war, he never really saw any action, but he found that high school education was very important. So he, when he was discharged from the Army, he went back to school and completed his junior and senior year in one year and lettered in three sports and graduated in 1920.


He believed in education. And later on when it was our time to graduate from high school there was no doubt we were going to college. We didn’t have choice. And it was always we were going to be part of the Harry P. Leu, Inc. We were going to work with him which my younger brother and I did. My older brother, too, for a long time. 

Cattle Business

And let me show you, he was a mechanical genius. I’ve got another picture of a machine that he built to clean – we were also in the cattle business in the 1950’s so Dad bought a piece of property out in East Seminole County, Lake Pickett, and we were in the cattle business, but at that point in time we were cleaning property and improving to put grass in. It was a hard thing to get the palmettos out of. He invented a machine to rake the palmettos out and pile them up so you could burn them. He never patented the machine and it was never commercially produced. But he did. He was a genius to put parts together to make this happen. 

Stine Palmetto Raking Machine

And this is really complex.

It’s a complete machine. It is. It really is. 

So now his father I read was a policeman, right?

He was a policeman, that’s correct. He was early on a carpenter. I think he followed a trait of his Uncle George, his father’s brother who was a carpenter. He learned to be a carpenter and moved from Benton, Pennsylvania to Charleston, West Virginia in 1900 to build the housing for coal miners south of Charleston. So he was building houses for a number of years before he became a policeman in Charleston. 

So did you and your brothers grow up with all sorts of tools?

Yes, we did. We had a machinist shop at our home on Park Lake Circle. We had leys and other equipment. And I used that ley. Dad also had another patent he bought for a device that went on leys, made parts for that device on the leys. And I today, have that south bend ley in my shop. The same ley that he had back in his shop in the 1940s I have today.

You mentioned education and that your father was a firm believer in education. So how did you decide industrial engineering? Was that something you selected?

Well, that’s an interesting story, too. Because Dad had three sons and one of the things here is that Mr. Leu had no children. He saw in Paul Stine’s three sons an ability to carry the business on. So that was one of the things that allowed my father to buy Harry P. Leu, Inc. when he did. Anyhow, as far as education, going to college was not an issue. Then he said, “Now, you’re going into business with me – you probably need an engineering degree to do that. The decision is made. You’re going to college. You’re going to get an engineering degree.” And he said, “Now mechanical engineering, you’ll need that.” And he had an associate there, who was later the general manager at Harry P. Leu, Inc., was a graduate mechanical engineer from Georgia Tech. So he said, “Now you need to take mechanical engineering, but if you take industrial engineering, it’s not only mechanical engineering, but it has business associated with it so you get part business education. Okay that decision is made.” Now there are two good schools in the south that teach industrial engineering. You’ve got Georgia Tech, that in the day was probably the best engineering college in the country,  and the University of Florida. Now I have three sons to send to college and the state tuition in Florida is a lot less than the tuition at Georgia Tech. Decision made. So we, all three of us at least started, Bobby my older brothers and I did graduate with a degree in industrial engineering from The University of Florida. John started but got his in business administration which is good, too.

I hope you don’t mind my asking because it’s still a concern today, how did you pay for college?

Dad paid for it. I never really had to work in college to pay my way through. None of us did. We did a little bit but not what’s done today trying to put ourselves through college. 

Would you tell me a little bit about your career path? You went to the University of Florida…

Well, I went to the University of Florida, at that point in time when I went in, the Korean War was on. So we were subject to draft to the Korean War. But you could get into college and the University of Florida being a land grant college, the first two years, a male student had to take ROTC. So I am Air Force ROTC. I go to advance in my junior and senior year, graduate, and I’m commissioned a Second Lieutenant. And then go from there into the Air Force. I become a Navigator. Go thru Navigator Training and then fly as a Navigator on KC 97 Tankers in the Strategic Air Command. Then after that as Dad expected me to do, I returned to Orlando and come go to work for him. 

“My father was my father and my boss and my best friend.”

And by the way, that was a wonderful decision on his part. There’s not many boys can say or men, my father was my father and my boss and my best friend. And he was. He really was. And the loss when he died, it was a real loss to me. Because in 1968 he decided he was going to fish and hunt more, and so, he turned the running of the country over to me. And this is ten years before he died and he left me alone. We were good to talk together, but he did not try to get involved in the management of the company. He was interested but only in things like the inventory, the accounts receivable; where the money was, and trash on the floor and nothing in between. So we had a wonderful relationship. If I had problems we talked about it. He didn’t manage the company, he allowed me to do it. We had a wonderful arrangement.   

So you felt that your degree helped you?

Oh, absolutely. In the time that I came to Leu, and he was always a very forward thinker, he had already by 1959 when I came back, had an IBM punch card computer system. It was mechanical. It was not electronic like digital today. So he was headed in that direction. He was very progressive in what he did. And I got involved in that and became so involved in it,  developed a computer system at the company which was one of the best in the industrial distribution business; including inventory management and those things that IBM wished they had my system but I would never let them do it. So that was kind of where we went there. And as far as industrial engineering, the warehousing and how things are stacked, the inventory management, how trucks made their deliveries, the delivery routes, were all in the purview of an industrial engineer. The work measurements, those sorts of things. So being an industrial engineer at those times was very, very basic but very good for our business.       


Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part II

Would you tell us a little bit about your relationship with Mr. Leu?

Well, let’s go back and talk about Mr. Leu. Let’s go back to the very beginning of what I know about Harry P. Leu. Harry Leu was born in Orlando and he grew up here. He was an entrepreneur from the very beginning. I know nothing of his father. He had an older sister. She’s buried out at Greenwood Cemetery. I don’t think she was ever married. But he grew up here having to support his mother. So he did things like clean out the livery stable, pick up the mail from the four o’clock train and take it to the post office. He also painted bedsteads. We had two foundries here in Orlando that cast bedsteads. They were old fashioned wrought iron bedsteads, heavy, and he had the job of painting them. And he had kind of subcontract that to other boys as Judge Donald Cheney told me later on, I worked for him. 

And he would have the boys  paint the prime coat on the beds which, I guess, they did with a paintbrush. They wouldn’t have the spray, they did it with a paintbrush. But he always was the one who wanted to put the finish coat on there to make sure the work was done right. But he was doing that as a young man, /he graduated from Saint Joseph’s Academy which was a Catholic High School here. He went to New York City to a business college and returned home to work for the gas company. 

In the meantime, in 1900 Mr. Cain and O’Berry started the Cain and O’Berry Boiler Works, about 1900 on the property at 100 West Livingston, at Livingston and the railroad. And they were in the business of manufacturing and repairing boilers for locomotives or for an industrial enterprise such as a citrus plant or the big phosphate mines or anybody else that needed a boiler to power their plant.

Cain & O’Berry Boiler Works furnishing power to build Florida in the early 1900s.

Cain-O-Berry Boiler Company

And so, he went to work there with them in 1904. They started in 1900 and as Cain-O-Berry Waterworks until Ace Cafe moved in on that property several years ago. One of the buildings had the Cain-O-Berry Waterworks sign painted on the side of the building. I left it there. But anyhow, the building’s gone today. But anyhow, he came to work in 1904 and was their bookkeeper and their trouble shooter. He would tell me of the times he would leave Orlando on the train at like four o’clock in the morning and go to Lakeland, hire a horse and buggy and ride out into the mines there, the phosphate mines and do his sales work, whatever he was doing. And get back on the train that afternoon and ride it back to Orlando for a full day. That was the way you traveled with the train and horse and buggy in early 1900’s. And then by, oh, Mr. Cain was the manager, Mr. O’Berry left shortly sometime in that early 1900s to go to make his fortune in the silver mines in Colorado, I believe, the story is. It didn’t happen that way. He returned to Orlando a poor man. But, anyhow, it was that Mr. Cain, he worked for and by the time that about 1925 he bought all the stock that was there. There were many families or a number of families in Orlando who owned stock in the Cain-O-Berry Boiler Company. Because I talked to Judge John Cheney and their family did own and attended the stockholder meetings. So he knew about this. He was acquainted with this and knew Harry Leu very well. So Harry Leu bought the stock about 1925 and changed the name from Cain-O-Berry Boiler Company to Harry P. Leu incorporated. And in the time that he was in that he made the progression from making boilers to being what was then called mill supplies, but what was industrial supplies later on. He said, “I made more money selling pipe than I did selling the boiler.” So during that time of the 1930’s he made that change to industrial supplies. And, of course, that’s when my father came to work for him in 1933, was appointed General Manager in 1939 and the reason we moved from Sanford to Orlando was for his job.

Harry P. Leu, Incorporated located at 100 West Livingston Avenue in Orlando.

Later on when I would be walking, his office was up in the main office building there and I’d walk by and he’d say, “Joe, come here, I want to talk to you for a minute.” Well, you don’t say “no” to Mr. Leu. So, I’d go in there for an hour or so, he’d just kind of ramble on with all these stories and just talking and all. I don’t remember a whole lot of them, but I was polite. I had things that I wanted to do. It was important for him to sit and talk, and that. But, he loved two things: he loved to travel and he loved Leu Gardens. And he just worked to provide for those opportunities. But he, I don’t know all the businesses he was in, but this was the most important. In 1940, now Daddy had just been the General Manager for a year, he decided to sell the business to Paul Stine for nothing down and 25 years to pay. And I wrote the last check out in 1965 to Mr. Leu. Also, but he didn’t announce that to anybody, it wasn’t until 1955 that he announced the sale. So he reigned as President and Dad as General Manager and then in 1955 he announced the sale to Paul Stine. So it worked to the benefit of my father who didn’t have any credit, didn’t have any money. Everybody was poor so it’s benefited Mr. Leu because he could do other things that benefited the Stine family. So it was good.   

Of course, times change, and my older brother came back to work for Harry P. Leu when he graduated from college. And he, in 1960, moved to Miami to run our Miami branch which we opened sometime in the fifties, I don’t remember, middle fifties. And so, he moved down there to run that. And later on, became involved in some other, he took over our machine tool part that’s what. And then, became involved in machine tools and later sold that out and became involved in restaurants. 

But the truth is, if Bob and I, who were competitive with each other and stayed in the company, one of us was going. Well, he went first. I stayed. My younger brother John came along and we had a great partnership running his company together. So it was fortunate. In 1987, there was a fellow who was buying up Industrial Supply Houses, he had a business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Chadwick and Bolt. And he came along, wanted the business worse than we did and had the cash. And that was the time to move on so we sold the business in 1987 to Chadwick & Bolt. And they didn’t know what they were doing and went bankrupt two and a half years later. 

But times were changing, and take like a day Christmas Day of 1983, when we had the worst freeze since the 1890’s and I woke up in the morning and I had just lost a third of my business. Many guys had lost all their groves, but I had just lost a third. And we had to rebuild from 1983. And we did. We recovered, went into some different directions. A lot of it was an opportunity – oh with the computers at that time. And so, you know, you have to move with what’s happening. But we sold the business and we were out of it. Main thing, we kept the property. Had not sold the property. And then, we eventually sold the property. We had bought that from Ms. Leu in 1953. And then, sold the property in 2006 when everything was high. So we did all right on that. 

And, during the time of the business, it was big business wasn’t it? What was the area that you covered? 

We covered the peninsula of Florida. We had branches in Miami. In Tampa. At one time we had a branch off of Puerto Rico in the early seventies. But it was basically the state of Florida.

Brochure for Harry P. Leu Incorporated showing their service area throughout Florida.

So it was a big area.

Big area. We had traveling salesman. Somewhere towards twenty outside salesman and probably that many inside salesman to take care of the orders over the telephone. Things were changing then because orders you used to get them in a letter; a purchase order from a customer in a letter. And one of the things told me interesting, is one of his jobs early on was taking all the envelopes and slitting so you could lay them out flat and use them for scratch paper. That’s how frugal those people were. Didn’t throw anything away. 

And one thing about, I did have something here I was going to show you. This is a 1904 electric motor for shop. This is a quotation we received from the electric company who I think was owned by the Cheney’s.  And this was to Mister’s Cain and O’Berry, February 26, 1904, According to conversation this AM with Mr. Cain, we would recommend that your boiler works machinery be run with a 110 horsepower motor and 15 horsepower according to groupings attached. We agree to furnish you your power for motor at 5 cents per kilowatt hour or 5 cents for 1000 kilowatt hours. Your monthly bill should not exceed $65.00. And then, it shows the groupings of how it was.

February 26, 1904 Cain and O’Berry Boiler Proposal from the Cain and O’Berry Company in Orlando, Florida.

These two motors ran an overhead shaft in the boiler shop that was built in 1904. And this was 1904 so this was when they built the new boiler shop. This was the proposal. So those two motors were installed in the boiler shop and ran an overhead shaft that ran these long belts then ran the machinery in that shop. And they existed there until we sold the place, I guess. And, I don’t know whatever happened to the motor, but in the sixties and seventies, they were there. So that’s an interesting place.     

It is.

You know, that’s a history of Orlando in respect these were probably the first motors that were installed in Orlando. So that was interesting there.

And that brings up an interesting point because at that time, I mean today we live, there’s a lot of industry in this area, electronic, industrial. But at that time, this area was still mostly agriculture wasn’t it? 

Absolutely, agriculture. You also had your lumber mills, saw mills, and then the phosphate mines down in Polk County. But it was agriculture. You, of course, had your truck farming in the Sanford area. So, yeah, it was agriculture. We were an agriculture community. 

So was there a great respect for what your father and what Mr. Leu were doing in the community at the time or maybe people didn’t realize their genius? I mean, sometimes it is another generation that realizes, oh my gosh, look at what they did.

I think people appreciated, we had more identifiable leadership in our community than we do now. Because both Harry P. Leu and my father were President of the Chamber of Commerce. They supported the growth of the community. Just like the banks did and Allen and those people, Martin Andersen. They were a group of men that helped make this community and they were respected. So from that standpoint, our community’s definitely changed. We do not have that individual leadership we had back then. I’m not saying that we don’t have people who promote the community. I mean, obviously we do. But they are not as identifiable as these men from the small community of Orlando. 

Would you elaborate on the civic and cultural values of Mr. Leu? Because your father got involved in Rotary, right? And, Mr. Leu was known as a humanitarian.

And Rotary, both of them. Rotary Club in Orlando was established in 1920.Harry Leu was not an organizing member, but within the next year, he joined. He was President of Rotary. My father was President of Rotary in Orlando and in Sanford when he was a young man in Sanford and later, was a District Governor of Rotary. So they were all active. Mr. Leu made an annual trip to the Rotary International conventions which means he would have to take a ship. He didn’t fly. You didn’t fly anywhere. You didn’t have good airlines back in those days. But he would take a steamship wherever they go, wherever they had the international convention. So from that standpoint of Rotary and Rotary foundation.  

Also, they were supporters of the industry. We had a group called a Southern Industrial Distributors Association. And Mr. Leu was President during the war, in fact, for two years during the war when they didn’t have a meeting my father was President later on and then I also became President in the 1970’s. I was the President of  that Southern Industrial Sugar Association. We supported that. We supported the Florida Wholesalers Association, anything that supported industry and growth and things. Dad served on Governor Holland’s Industrial War Board of some sort. So they were all supporters of the growth to make the community grow. Harry P. Leu had a lot to do with getting the Highway 50’s, State rad 50 across state to have it built. You know, Colonial Drive didn’t go much past Orange Blossom Trail which was then known as Kentucky. A couple of blocks, that’s it. It stopped out there. If you wanted to go to Winter Garden, you got on Washington Street and went out to the Old Winter Garden Road. So they were the ones that promoted the growth of Florida that way. 

As well as the beauty and the values, right, because Mr. Leu created the garden.

Oh, the beautiful garden was his hobby! And also, he traveled. He would bring back plants which you can’t do today. The tropical plants he liked to try. The plants that weren’t all that tropical were the pineapples. He grew pineapples out there at one time. Those pineapples were grown in the area. But he had that. He would always try something. He would try to grow different plants. He just had a green thumb, I guess. He enjoyed it. But the beauty of that. And it took years to grow that garden in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s until he finally gave it to City Hall in 1961. So it was a labor of love. He loved that, the gardens, as Mrs. Leu did. 

And your father was active in the First Presbyterian Church, he became a deacon?

He was a deacon and later an elder in the Church, yes.

And did you become involved in Rotary through your father?

Yes, and that was proposed. I became a member of Rotary in 1961 and still remain a member of Rotary. My younger brother John was president of the club. He and I divided things up of what we would do in the community. And he was more active in the local community where I was statewide or in the national scene. So, you know, you don’t want to compete with each other, you know. And John did a wonderful job in Rotary being President and Junior Achievement when Rotary brought that into town. He was active in that. And we’ve always been active in Boy Scouts. The three of us were Eagle Scouts. But my father was one of the earliest scout masters of Sanford, Florida, early scoutmasters in the Central Florida Council. He was President of the Central Florida Council when we bought Camp La  No Che on Lake Norris in Lake County… and so he bought that property. Judge Cheney and Doc Hatfield from Umatilla located the property and we got enough money together and when it was first bought then Harry P. Leu put some more money in and they got to buy another hundred acres up there. So Harry Leu supported the Scouts, too, very strongly.

Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part III

I think, through this interview today you can see how the values carry through the generations like specifically in your family. So, I don’t know if you would agree, some people might say these are very much the values of Orlando; the values we want to always see and remember through time. So do you see that as continuing as far as the hard work and the community spirit, the involvement your family and Mr. Leu have shared through generations?

Well, I certainly hope they continue on and they certainly can. But it takes people dedicated in the community to make them happen. We’re becoming such more diverse. You know, when they came there was not a whole lot of people here and it was hard work. There was just a few people who came with money and everybody else had to grow their own potatoes. It was if you didn’t work hard you didn’t survive. And people learned that and they did not depend upon other people. They did it themselves. Harry P. Leu is a good example. He was an entrepreneur. He didn’t have a father and he worked hard to provide for his mother. My father was pretty much the same way. I’m not saying we should all lose our fathers to learn how to do it. But they are those hard work is part of the scheme. If you don’t work hard – But there are people who don’t work hard unfortunately. So, yes, it will perpetuate on as long as we’re taught that it’s necessary to do. Yes.     

So what is one of your favorite memories of time spent with you and your Dad and Mr. Leu?

Well, we did not do as far as a family, anything in particular with the Leu’s. He was a very private man from his own personal standpoint. He and Mrs. Leu did not entertain much. The had guests, but never entertained much. For us as boys, my father loved to hunt and fish. I loved to hunt and fish. He took us. During the summer when the grass grew – my mother insisted that we have St. Augustine grass- we had to mow the grass with push lawn mowers. They weren’t gasoline lawn mowers, they were push lawn mowers on that one acre property there on Park Lake. And Saturday morning we had to mow the yard. And if we got it mowed, then dad would take us fishing Saturday afternoon on St. John’s River. So that was a benefit, you know.

And then, hunting season, we all knew Dad was a big bird hunter. He loved to bird hunt. So we had bird dogs in our back yard. We always had four or five bird dogs. It was our responsibility to take care of those bird dogs. Mow lawns, feed dogs, clean up dog pens and split wood. We had a fire place and a furnace. But the furnace didn’t operate that often. We had a basement in our house. We had a furnace, a wood burning furnace and we had to make sure there was wood there when the cold times came. And it was colder in the fifties and forties. So we had this and we’d make sure the wood was done. I had to get it from the wood pile put it down and throw it through a little hole in the bottom down there. And then not long after, John, my younger brother went to college and Dad converted it to oil. He knew how to get his work out of his sons, anyhow. But that all taught us that work had to be done. 

And I know that you came here today with your wife, so, I think, that I should at least ask about your family. You are married and you have a family yourself?

Well,  Joan and I met at the University of Florida. First in our Freshman English course and started dating and got married. Went to the Air Force together and had a son and five daughters. Hopefully, my son was going to come and work for me, but that didn’t work out. He had other directions; he had other opportunities. Four of the children live in this area and two of them, one of them in Decatur, Georgia, and one of them lives in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Girls they marry and go with their husbands. But, so that’s the family. 

We love living in Orlando. In fact, my wife who grew up in Jacksonville said, “I was so happy to marry Joseph.” (She calls me Joseph.) Because I was going to go to a little town away from big city Jacksonville. She says, “Now I’m disappointed. We’re as big as Jacksonville.”  

But you stayed here.

Yes, after we had the Air Force which was a great experience. It’s great starting your family, our family, away from everybody else. It was one  of the benefits of being in he Air Force.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for you to still see the Harry P. Leu Gardens like maybe if you drive by once and a while. Is that one of the most wonderful memories because it’s a beautiful garden.

I was so grateful that the Leu’s built this and gave it to the City of Orlando. Now earlier on, he did not like what was going on, the City of Orlando didn’t live up t his expectations and I’m not sure they would now because the City doesn’t support the gardens. They think they ought to make it themselves. It’s a great burden on the Director out there. But the beauty of that then, particularly under Robert Bowden, the Director now has been there for 25 years or something. He has grown that garden and made it more beautiful under his direction. I’m just so pleased with that part of it, that he has been able to be the hidden attraction in Orlando. Yes, I’m pleased with what’s happened there. I’m pleased with the gift that he gave to the City of Orlando, very much so. 

Well, is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you think future generations should know about?

Well, I don’t know that there is. They always believed a lot in advertising and they put out brochures such as this one was put out sometime in the forties, late forties probably was. Or early fifties like this. And there was always one pencil, these are the most famous pencils. And my sons used to thought this was a – you get men always asking for this and pads… So there’s things like that.

And that’s part of their very forward thinking business initiative?

That’s right. Advertising. Advertising was something we were big in and it was year after year. We published things, advertising, brochures for people to see. I don’t know. I have a picture here of Harry Leu and Mrs. Leu here this is in 1962 when he was 78 years old, I guess. This was a dinner party for them. 

Mary Jane and Harry P. Leu, 1962

Very attractive.

Yeah. Mr. Leu didn’t get married until he was 55, 50 some years old. There was a bachelor trotting around town looking like that. All the girls looking at him. He was a wealthy man from a standpoint of the wealth in this town at the time. Of course, a young man, unmarried without children can build wealth quicker than if you have children. But I wouldn’t trade mine. 

And is the house that you grew up in on Park Lake, is that home still there?

The home is still there. Dad decided, he sold it to what was called the University of Orlando which was Orlando Junior College, and now is Lake Highland Prep School. That was the property. He sold it for them to use for the home of their President. Actually, it was more of a gift. He didn’t sell it at the accessed value. Actually, what’s interesting, he bought the house in 1942 for $8,000. And I have no idea what it’s worth now, four five, six hundred thousand dollars. But it was built, well all the houses around the neighborhood were built in the twenties.

We were pleased. Up until that time, we had always lived in a two bedroom one bath house with three boys living in one bedroom. That’s the way houses were built then. When we first lived in Sanford on Summerlin Avenue there, and then on Harwood Street in Orlando. And then lived up for two years in College Park on Gerda Terra before we moved to that house on Park Lake in 1942. And as it turned out, of course, we went to school, we went to Princeton and Marks Street. I started at Hillcrest first. I worked a couple of weeks there. Princeton, Marks Street, Memorial Junior High School, and I’m in the last graduating class for Orlando High School. That’s famous, I claim that one. There’s not too many and it’s split into Edgewater and Boone. 

And you enjoyed growing up here, it sounds like to me.

Oh, we did. It was a good time! We loved it! To hunt and fish was big for us. We played athletics. Dad bought a property. We encouraged him. We wanted him to be in the cattle business. So we bought 1400 acres out in East Seminole County. We had a ranch. We ran that ranch. I was in the cattle business myself until the seventies sometime with my two brothers and I running it. I loved being in the cattle business better than any business I was ever in. I learned more on that ranch running the equipment and tending cows than any other thing I can remember.

And your wife who is here today, you mentioned that you met at the University of Florida in college. So did she also ear a degree?

No, she did not. She should have. But her father said, “I didn’t send you to college to get married.” And he pulled her out of her junior year. So she worked for Eastern Airlines and earned enough money to come back in my senior year. So we bought 1400 acres out in East Seminole County. We had a ranch. We ran that ranch. I was in the cattle business myself until the seventies sometime with my two brothers and I was running it. I loved being in the cattle business better than any business I was ever in. I learned more on that ranch running the equipment and tending cows than any other thing I can remember. 

And your wife who is here today, you mentioned that you met at the University of Florida in college so did she also earn a degree?

No, she did not. She should have. But her father said, “I didn’t send you to college to get married.” And he pulled her out of her junior year. So she worked for Eastern Airlines and earned enough money to come back in her senior year. So we were together in my last year. And then it was an interesting thing happened in that I was to graduate on June 4 and I had my assignment to go to the Air Force and sometime in September we would be married. Six weeks before I graduated, the Air Force changed my assignment. I was to report in Texas on June 10 and I graduated June 4; we were going to be married in August. Joan said I wasn’t going to Texas by myself. So On June 4 I graduated, was commissioned at noontime and she and I were married at six o’clock that night and on our way to Texas. So it was a busy day on June 4, 1956.  

Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part IV

So I noticed that we actually have an article from our archives on your father. It’s “Old School Industrialist Paul Stine in Initiative, Integrity, and Sweat are the Ingredients of Success”. And it tells the story of your father’s life and what he’s done to be successful in our country despite hardships. And it has a picture. Do you remember this? And do you think this does encapsulate your dad as a person?

It does. It’s a good article. And he did. I think he taught all three of us the integrity, the honesty, but it takes hard work to do it. And we’ve all done that. But I look at that and there was a quote in there that brings back a memory that a banker he worked for in Charleston, West Virginia had a quote which is, “After all Paul, it’s the man and that’s what makes the difference.” 

Well thank you so much for speaking with us today, Mr. Stine…

You’re welcome. Glad I was here.

Interview:  Joseph P. Stine

Interviewer:  Jane Tracy

Date:  December 12, 2017

Place:  Orlando Public Library

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Brochure for Harry P. Leu Incorporated

Brochure for Harry P. Leu Incorporated showing their service area throughout Florida. Courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

Brochure for Harry P. Leu Incorporated

Brochure for Harry P. Leu Incorporated showing their service area throughout Florida. Courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

Harry P. Leu, Incorporated in Orlando.

Harry P. Leu, Incorporated located at 100 West Livingston Avenue in Orlando. Photo courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

Stine's Palmetto Raking Machine

Oral history excerpt from Oral History Interview with Industrial Engineer Joseph P. Stine: And let me show you, he was a mechanical genius....

Stine Takes All Plant Track

Illustration of the Stine Takes All Plant Truck from the 1943 catalog for Harry P. Leu. Orlando resident Paul Stine designed the...

Stine Plant Truck

1934 drawing for the Stine Plant Truck patented in 1937. Photo courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

Cain O"Berry Boiler Works Furnish the Power to Build Florida

Cain & O'Berry Boiler Works furnishing power to build Florida in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry P. Leu, 1962

Mary Jane and Harry P. Leu, 1962. Photo courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

1904 Envelope from Harry P. Leu

Courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine Family Archives.

1904 Cain and O'Berry Boiler Receipt

February 26, 1904 Cain and O'Berry Boiler Receipt from the Cain and O'Berry Company in Orlando, Florida. Courtesy of the Joseph P. Stine...

There are currently no video related to this memory.
Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part I

Oral history interview with Joseph Paul Stine at the Orlando Public Library on December 12, 2017.
Interview:  Joseph P. Stine

Interviewer:  Jane Tracy

Date:  December 12, 2017

Place:  Orlando Public Library

Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part II

Oral history interview with Joseph P. Stine at the Orlando Public Library on December 12, 2017.
Interview:  Joseph P. Stine

Interviewer:  Jane Tracy

Date:  December 12, 2017

Place:  Orlando Public Library

Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part III

Oral history interview with Joseph Paul Stine at the Orlando Public Library on December 12, 2017.
Interview:  Joseph P. Stine

Interviewer:  Jane Tracy

Date:  December 12, 2017

Place:  Orlando Public Library

Oral History Interview with Joseph Paul Stine, Part IV

Oral history interview with Joseph Paul Stine at the Orlando Public Library on December 12, 2017.
Interview:  Joseph P. Stine

Interviewer:  Jane Tracy

Date:  December 12, 2017

Place:  Orlando Public Library

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