Oprah Winfrey wrote, “Yesterday with family around his bedside I had the sacred honor of seeing the man responsible for my life, breathed his last.” “We could feel the peace in the room on his passing.”
On July 4th, Oprah surprised her father by throwing a surprise barbecue in Nashville. The event, called “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day,” included a barber chair to honor his long career as a barber. He owned his own Nashville shop for almost 50 years.
Vernon Winfrey also served as a member of Nashville’s Metro City Council for 16 years, and was a trustee of Tennessee State University.
Oprah Winfrey spent her early childhood in her father’s hometown of Kosciuszko, Mississippi, then in Milwaukee with her mother Vernita Lee, who died in 2018. She also lived with her father in Nashville between the ages of 7 and 9 and during her teenage years.
Oprah Winfrey told the Washington Post in 1986, “If I hadn’t been sent to my father (when I was 14), I would have gone in the other direction.” “I could have been a good criminal. I would have used these same instincts differently.”