Mark Rorie

Mark Rorie grew up in North Little Rock.

"Levy to be exact," Rorie stated.

He attended North Little Rock Ole Main and was part of the graduating class of 1978 before attending The Memphis Academy of Art graduating in 1982. Rorie stayed in the Memphis area with his wife Jan for eight years before moving back to Arkansas in 1989.

"My wife took a job at Arkansas College, now Lyon as Resident Director," he stated. "We lived on campus for two years with our 18-month-old son, Matthew."

Rorie is the owner of Batesville Printing and Direct Mail, which he started in 1993, due to his history of working in print while living in Memphis.

"I worked for Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn, and became president of one of his smaller companies," Rorie explained. "I worked for a company, and the owner died suddenly and Wilson made me president. I had my BFA from The Memphis Academy of Arts majoring in Advertising Art and Design with a minor in Printmaking, so I had the idea to start an in-house printing company."

From there, Rorie ended up running a printing company.

"Before I knew it, Mr. Wilson had taken my idea and bought presses and all the equipment we needed," Rorie continued. "He even bought a shopping center to house it all, and named it Wilson Printing Company. I was the print estimator and ran my other company, Wilson Premium Corporation, and at the time Wilson owned 95 different companies."

When Rorie isn't busy printing for the Batesville area, he is busy fishing, metal detecting, drawing, working puzzles, hiking, walking, bird watching and writing. He also has one son, Matthew Wood Rorie who lives in Batesville and one stepson, Luke Davis who lives in Jonesboro and attends ASU.

"My stepson, Luke was in the fourth grade at the time, and he had some friends over at the house," Rorie explained. "I love history, and knowing that Batesville has such a rich history, I asked them what they knew about the area. The room went silent."

Rorie said that he decided to try and teach a little of the history of Batesville through the writing of some historical fiction based on historical facts from Batesville and the surrounding areas.

"The more research I did, the more excited I got," he stated. "My characters are Luke and his friends, Chase Baker, Greyson Wyatt, Kendra Kelley, Emma Langston, Anna Beth Conditt and our dog Kristi. The stories are through their eyes in order to help kids their age learn more about this wonderful city."

Rorie has self published seven books with No. 8 hitting shelves by spring.

"There are five Polk Bayou Kids books: The Search for Civil War Gold, The Secrets of the White River Monster, The Ghosts of West Elementary School, The Cave of a Thousand Toys and The Ghosts of the State Capitol," he stated. "The other two books are titled Almost Positively Worst Christmas Ever and The Creek That Runs Backwards, and my newest is called Pig Pen Trail."

Since Rorie loves history and has written several books about the Poke Bayou, one question comes to mind since he is a writer and that is it Polk or Poke Bayou?

"Both are correct, which is a little strange," Rorie explained. "The original historic spelling is poke and can be found on all older maps at The Old Independence Regional Museum. For some reason it became polk at some point in history. Perhaps because of President James K. Polk and the first Post Office built here. I'm not for sure and I'm not sure anyone really knows, but the correct spelling should be poke. In my books I use the spelling as polk but I did change it to poke for my newest book. I did read that it was named for a bird the settlers saw when they first came to Batesville called the Shopoke Bird, which pooped in the air when it took off. I found that a little strange that an early pioneer to Batesville would name a creek after a bird and not a family name."

When asked if he could do anything, Rorie responded, "I think God has me right where I need to be at the right time, doing what I love. Hopefully, I'll live long enough to complete a few more books and lots of artwork."

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.