She attended two-room Star School in the Verdigris River bottom outside Wagoner, Oklahoma, and when the family moved to Rescue, Missouri in 1960, she attended and was graduated from Miller High School. Attending Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield from 1967-1972 and was graduated with a BA in Speech and Theater.
Accepted to the prestigious Dallas Theatre Center in Dallas, Texas, in 1972, she did her master's work in Children's Theater at this (former) branch of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Following her father's nearly fatal heart attack in 1974, Judy returned to help out at the family farm in 1975-1976 and also earned her lifetime Missouri teaching certificate at S.M.S.U.
Two years teaching high school speech and drama at Republic, Missouri, ended when Judy took a position as a character actress and storyteller at Silver Dollar City theme park outside Branson.
Judy worked at Silver Dollar City as the resident storyteller from 1978 until 1998. Her work began to gain national recognition with the hundreds of thousands of guests who saw her performances, and with the publication of her first three audiocassettes of storytelling.
Married March 27, 1982, to actor-teacher Richard Alan Young, the two have gone on to publish nine books with August House Publishers of Little Rock, Arkansas. Seven nationally-released audio-cassettes featuring Judy and Richard have also been released by August House. And the couple have produced four video tapes.
Judy's live performances have led to appearances at the Exchange Place stage of the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, the main stages at the Texas Storytelling Festival and San Antonio's Tellabration. In 1996 she appeared as one of the featured tellers at the Texas Storytelling Festival. Many tours, including performances under the auspices of the state humanities councils, have carried her storytelling across the Midwest and Southwest.
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