Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., as the first of eight children born to Margaret and John Konenkamp. John Konenkamp has 6 brothers and 1 sister. He attended private Catholic School throughout the duration of his childhood and adolescence. In his teen years, his family moved to Macon, GA, where his father was employed at Robins Air Force base. Konenkamp graduated from the University of Georgia in 1967, served in the United States Navy and following that, attended the University of South Dakota. He graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1974. He served as Deputy State's Attorney for Rapid City, South Dakota through 1977, then switched to private practice. Konenkamp was active in the American Legion and the state Bar association and has also served as a foster parent for the state Department of Social Services. In 1984 South Dakota GovernorBill Janklow appointed Konenkamp a circuit courtjudge. He became presiding judge of the seventh circuit in 1988. In 1994 Governor Walter Dale Miller appointed him to the state supreme court, he survived retention elections in 1998 and again in 2006.