Terry Ventura Biography & Resources

Teresa Lynn Masters was born in 1955 in Mankato, Minnesota, to Burton and Sharon (Cornish) Masters, the first of two children. The Masters family moved from Vernon Center, Minnesota, to Minneapolis when Terry was about 4 years old. She graduated from Richfield High School in 1973. Terry was working as a receptionist when she met James Janos (later Jesse Ventura) and the couple was married in 1975.

The Venturas' two children were Terry's top priority during her time as first lady. Daughter Jade was the first lady's inspiration to start the Jade Foundation, whose mission was to benefit and improve the lives of Minnesota's children and young adults coping with physical, emotional or mental challenges. Terry also worked to encourage more parental involvement in education, particularly to promote an awareness of the needs of children in special education.

As first lady, Terry served on the councils of many state organizations. She was named honorary chairperson of Wigs Without Worry, a foundation that provided wigs at reduced cost to cancer patients. She worked with the Salvation Army to help with relief efforts in Manhattan after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers after 9/11. In response to flooding in northwestern Minnesota, she helped with a food drive to feed farm animals. She enjoyed visiting schools, reading to children, and hosting children's activities at the Governor's Residence. Terry also served as director for Ventura for Minnesota, Inc., a non-profit corporation that collected royalties and licensing fees on "Jesse Ventura" action figures, t-shirts, key chains and other items, and dispersed this money to charities.

During her time as first lady Terry continued to personally manage the family's horse ranch, where she taught riding lessons. Both Terry and her daughter were accomplished horsewomen, a talent acknowledged when Terry was invited by author GaWaNi Pony Boy, horse trainer and authority on Native American horsemanship, to contribute an essay to his book Of Women and Horses.

September 11th Capitol Ceremony speech, 9/11/2002

Governor Jesse Ventura: Communications Office Records, 1998-2003 (includes print articles and video interviews with Terry Ventura)