“Yesterday, with my family around his bedside, I had the sacred honor of seeing the man responsible for my life breathe his last,” Oprah said in a tribute to her father shared on Instagram. “We could feel the peace entering the room as he passed away.”
A written tribute on Oprah Daily, Oprah’s lifestyle outlet, said Oprah was able to spend time with her father in Nashville during his final weeks.
On July 4, Vernon was surprised with a “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Celebration” and backyard barbecue, where he was surrounded by friends and loved ones.
The celebration was a way to give her dad his “‘flowers while he’s still well enough to smell them,'” Oprah said in a previous post.
During the celebration, Oprah’s friend and gospel singer, Wintley Phipps sang for him. “He FELT the love and reveled in it until he couldn’t speak anymore,” she wrote.
Vernon was a well-known barber in his community and served on the Metro Nashville Council for 16 years.
“I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Vernon Winfrey. Vernon served on the Metropolitan Council for 16 years and has dedicated his life to entrepreneurship, barbering and mentoring young men in the community,” said the Nashville Mayor John Cooper. said on Twitter.
“An army veteran and deacon, he leaves behind a legacy of service.”
Oprah’s mother, Vernita Lee, died in 2018 at age 83. Lee was born in Mississippi and gave birth to Winfrey as a young woman. Lee and Vernon never married.