Vern Kinnonen was the son of Otto and Edla Kinnunen and brother to sisters Aino, Siiri, Alma, and Ellen. The Kinnunen family moved to the Long Lake area on December 21, 1912.
Kinnonen possessed a great musical talent and took up the accordion when he was fifteen. He took correspondence courses from Pietro Derro School of Music in New York to better his musical ability. Vern Kinnonen would entertain at parties and wedding receptions and provided the weekly entertainment for galas and dances at the Farmers Hall.