Kenny Joseph was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 30, 1928. His father, Samuel Joseph, and mother, Martha Adams Joseph, arrived in the United States as immigrants from modern day Iraq where they faced persecution because of their Christian faith. Inspired by the story of American prisoner of war Louis Zamperini, he answered a call from General Douglas MacArthur and went to Japan as a missionary. Kenny spent most of his years in Japan, and as a traveling evangelist in Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Taiwan, and others. A lifelong Chicago Cubs fan who once tried out for the team, he lived to see his beloved team win the Word Series.