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Oprah Winfrey Honors Her Sick Father With an Appreciation Day BBQ

"Giving my father his ‘flowers’ while he’s still well enough to smell them."


Media mogul Oprah Winfrey celebrated the Fourth of July by throwing a special barbecue to honor her father. Vernon Winfrey is reportedly in his late 80s and in poor health — so in the operatic Oprah fashion for which she is famous (and beloved), she planned a party dubbed “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day.” Her dad assumed it would be a typical Fourth of July gathering, and was surprised to discover he was being celebrated along with the nation. 

Although she’s best known for giving away cars on The Oprah Winfrey Show and launching her OWN TV network (pun intended), Oprah has also notably donated millions of dollars to various charities and organizations. You might wonder how she has any time for personal matters — but it’s clear that she holds her family very close.

Via Instagram, Oprah shared that in throwing this shindig, she was hoping to make her aging father feel loved. “My father is ill and so we wanted to be able to have all of his friends come and celebrate him while he’s able to receive the joy,” she said.

The 68-year-old celeb posted a video showing a little bit of the outdoor party, with a food spread including classic BBQ fare like fried chicken, hamburgers, and brisket. Winfrey’s dad — who worked as a barber for over 50 years in Nashville, where the party was hosted — appears in the video sitting in a barber’s chair. 

In the video’s caption, Oprah expresses how important it is to spend time with loved ones before they’re gone. “Giving my father his ‘flowers’ while he’s still well enough to smell them,” she wrote. “Happy 4th of July as you gather with your family and friends. Remember to celebrate each other.”

Update: Oprah confirmed in an Instagram post that on July 8, her father Vernon passed away at the age of 89. He died in Nashville, less than a week after his daughter honored him with a July 4th celebration.

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

See the rest of her post below.

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