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Vernon Winfrey and Oprah Winfrey arrive at the opening of "Charlie's War" at the Nashville Film Festival in Nashville, Tenn. on May 2, 2003.Adriane Jaeckle / Getty Images file

Oprah’s father, Vernon Winfrey dies at 88

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Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon Winfrey, died at the age of 89.

Oprah confirmed in an Instagram post that her father died in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday.

“Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside I had the sacred honor of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath,” the media mogul wrote. “We could feel peace enter the room at his passing.”

Details about funeral plans were not immediately released.

Earlier this week, Oprah surprised her father by throwing him a surprise barbeque in Nashville on the Fourth of July. The event was called “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day,” which included a barber chair to honor his long career as a barber and owning his own shop in Nashville for nearly 50 years.

As Oprah put it, “My father is ill, so we wanted to be able to have all of his friends come and celebrate him while he’s able to receive the joy. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Vernon was seated, appropriately, in a barber chair in the middle of the backyard barbecue … as his friends and family celebrated him.

vernon winfrey


He had owned and operated Winfrey Barber & Beauty Shop for more than 50 years — and was beloved by the community. One of his employees told us, “[Vernon] would give you the shirt off his back.”

Vernon’s daughter wasn’t shy about how proud she was of him, and she’s celebrated his accomplishments for a long time.

Vernon served as a member of Nashville’s Metro City Council for 16 years and was a trustee for the Tennessee State University.

Oprah spent her early childhood at her father’s hometown of Kosciusko, Mississippi, and in Milwaukee with her mother, Vernita Lee, who died in 2018. However, she also lived with her father in Nashville, between the ages of 7 and 9 and during her teens.

Her mother, Vernita Lee, passed away back in 2018 at the age of 83

“If I hadn’t been sent to my father (when I was 14), I would have gone in another direction,” Oprah told the Washington Post in 1986. “I could have made a good criminal. I would have used these same instincts differently.”

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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