Sadly, things took a tragic turn at the Winfrey house on Thanksgiving after her mother Vernita Lee died in her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The mother of the legendary talk show host, entrepreneur, author and actress was 83 years old at the time of her death.
Vernita was born on May 2, 1935, and worked as a housekeeper for most of her life. She is survived by two daughters, Winfrey, and daughter Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, who was placed for adoption shortly after her birth. The family reconnected later in life when Winfrey introduced her half-sister to the world on her talk show in 2010. Some of you might not be aware that Oprah also had two other siblings, a brother Jeffrey Lee, who died in 1989 and sister Patricia Lee Lloyd, who died in 2003.
Thanksgiving weekend was just a couple of days ago, and while many in America were frantically shopping all the different black Friday deals, Oprah was busy laying her mother to rest at a small, private funeral. According to her spokesperson, her mother has already been put to rest at a private funeral, while her death has just been announced today a few days after the demise.
On Thanksgiving Oprah Winfrey posted two Instagram videos giving her fans a peek at her feast; however, she has stayed off social media since then.
While being interviewed by a Milwaukee local station, Lee opened up about how she got through the devastating loss of her two children. “I’m a Christian lady, and if you’re a Christian person, it helps you to deal with situations like that,” she said. In the same interview, Lee also said she demonstrated the example of giving love to others, which her daughter has been inspired by. According to Lee her proudest moment as a mother was in 1985 when Winfrey landed a role in the highly acclaimed Color Purple. Since then Oprah has started a thriving network of her own and recently starred in a Disney movie called A Wrinkle In Time.
Winfrey’s parents met once before they welcomed their daughter in the world in 1954. She was an unmarried teenager when she gave birth to Oprah. Later, Oprah traveled between her dad, mom and grandparent’s houses throughout her young life. Her father once recalled that he received the news of the birth of his daughter in a letter which contained the name, weight and other details of the baby.
Oprah didn’t have a stable life which resulted in a lot of inner turmoil during her later years. However, Winfrey has since then said her struggles had made her who she is today and doesn’t regret the decisions of her parents or the choices she has made personally.
If you’re a fan of Oprah Winfrey (who isn’t?), and are saddened by her loss (especially during the holiday season), you can make donations in Lee’s name to the nonprofit organization Feeding America. You’ll spread the love, which is actually what Oprah’s mother believed in.