Oprah Winfrey’s mother passes away at 83

Sad news out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin concerning Oprah Winfrey. Her mother, Vernita Lee, died on Thanksgiving Day. She was 83.

In a statement to People, a spokesperson for Winfrey, says her mother has already been laid to rest at a private funeral.

Vernita Lee worked as a housekeeper for a good portion of her life. She is survived by Winfrey and daughter Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, who she gave up for adoption at birth and reconnected with later in life. Lee also had two other children — son Jeffrey Lee, who died in 1989 and daughter Patricia Lee Lloyd, who died in 2003.

Lee spoke with Milwaukee TV station TMJ4 about how she got through the deaths of two of her 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 interview, Lee said she modeled the example of giving others love, which her daughter made a career of.

“I loved her the way that she loves people now,” she said, adding that her proudest moment was in 1985 when Winfrey “did the Color Purple.”

However, Oprah says her relationship with her mom was rocky because of a long separation. You see, Oprah was raised early on by her maternal grandmother. When the future mogul turned 6, she moved to Milwaukee to live with Vernita who was a virtual stranger to her at that point.

“I was asking the question … what is a mother? What are you supposed to feel about your mother?”

Fortunately, the relationship between Oprah and her mom was eventually repaired. Oprah had Vernita on her talk show in 1990. O’s personal stylist gave her a makeover.