J.R. Rosner was born in Vienna and came to the United States in 1938 at the age of 13. She attended Sullivan High School in Rogers Park neighborhood, and is an only child. She could speak no English when she first came, but understood quite well within her first year of living here. She can speak German, French, and English, and later in her life, J.R. Rosner became an English teacher. She has one cousin three times removed who still lives in Vienna, and she loves the activities that she can participate in at Self Help Home.