Joseph Thiriot was born August 20, 1906 in Provo, Utah to George W. and Elvira Thiriot and was raised with four brothers. His father sold a “typing machine,” a forerunner to the typewriter. Eventually the family moved from Boise, Idaho to a ranch in Pahranagat Valley, Nevada, where the limits of educational opportunities compelled his parents to send him back to Provo to finish his education while living with family there. Gaining a teaching certificate enabled Thiriot to teach in rural Nevada. He completed his degree at the University of Utah and relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada to become a teacher.