Oprah Winfrey’s Father Dies Days After Family Celebration

By Reuters
July 10, 2022 Updated: July 10, 2022

Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon, has died, the daytime talk show host said on her Instagram account on Saturday, just days after she said the family was able to honor her father.

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

Vernon Winfrey was born in 1933, she said.

TMZ reported Vernon, 88, who owned and operated Winfrey Barber & Beauty Shop for more than 50 years, died after a battle with cancer on Friday night.

Oprah Winfrey said on Instagram the family had planned a surprise “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day” backyard barbecue on July 4 to have his friends celebrate him as he was ill. It included a barber chair to honor his long career as a barber. Her father thought it was meant to be a Fourth of July celebration, she said in the video.

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.

“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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.