Oprah Winfrey released her 22nd list of her favorite things ahead of the holiday season that includes 107 items. USA TODAY
Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, died at her Milwaukee home last week, her family announced Monday.
Lee was 18 when she gave birth to her first child in rural Mississippi, naming her Orpah, but the girl became known as Oprah but because everyone mispronounced it. Lee later moved to Milwaukee and Oprah, then 6, moved to live with her mother.
Lee died on Thanksgiving at the age of 83.
After living with her grandmother in Mississippi for the first six years of her life, Oprah traveled to Milwaukee to live with her mother. Lee gave birth to Oprah’s younger half-sister, who died in 2003.
On a 2003 visit to the city of Pewaukee, Winfrey spoke about her childhood in Milwaukee at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s annual Freedom Fund dinner. She said her best Christmas ever was in Milwaukee when she was 12 and living on North 10th Street.
Lee, who was working as a maid in Fox Point, told Winfrey that Santa Claus was not coming that year because the single mother didn’t have much money to buy presents. But on Christmas Eve, nuns brought food and toys for Winfrey and her siblings.
Winfrey said that experience was one of many that taught her that through giving “you enlarge the spirit of somebody else.”
Lee was a lifetime member of the NAACP and her daughter…
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