Judy Jetter was born November 18, 1939 and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of three, she began taking acting, tap, and ballet classes. While raised by her mother until age 15, she was forced to study opera, even though jazz music was her passion. Jetter’s first introduction to jazz came while listening to, legendary jazz great, Woody Herman on the radio. She developed an immediate appreciation and love for jazz music. While working as a commercial actress during her childhood she experienced live performances by the Stan Kenton Orchestra and was amazed.
After graduation, Jetter married and gave birth to her son. She worked for a movie studio in Chicago doing various jobs such as cleaning the stage, typing scripts, model work, and even playing a role of housewife. Later, Jetter went to college and earned a degree in psychology, which led to a job as a therapist. However, after remarrying to Bill Jetter, she switched careers and became an exercise instructor at the YMCA. There, she cultivated her passion for working with people who suffered from disabilities.
Unfortunately, Jetter’s husband passed away from cancer. However, she found support and refuge from a group of jazz enthusiasts. Alongside her cadre, began studying how to listen to music. Jetter moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1992 and enjoyed the jazz scene, making her weekly rounds to take in big bands and jazz singers such as Jobell and Terri James. She also went to see Bruce Harper playing at Bugsy’s Bar, and the talented Gus Mancuso performing at the Bootlegger Italian Restaurant.