Vince Sevely was born in a ranch house in Mountain View, California in 1929 to John and Anka Sevely who had emigrated from Yugoslavia (now Croatia) in search of a better life. His parents, after saving enough money, had bought their own ranch in Mountain View where they raised apricots, plums, and cherries. Vince worked on the ranch in virtually every capacity and was driving a tractor before he was licensed to drive a car. Although only Serbo-Croatian was spoken at home, Vince learned English quickly in grammar school, eventually skipping a grade. He attended Bellarmine College Preparatory and then Santa Clara University where he first received a political science degree, followed by a law degree.