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Nashville community comes together to pay final respects to Vernon Winfrey

Community members pay their respects at Vernon Winfrey's visitation
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 07:44:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville community got a chance to say their final goodbyes to Vernon Winfrey today.

He was 89.

The former Metro Councilman and father of Oprah Winfrey died last week after a battle with cancer.

Winfrey worked hard to better his East Nashville community by opening Winfrey's Barber Shop and eventually opening Winberry Place, a retail space for his shop and others.

He also helped revitalize the Cleveland Park area just several blocks away. Winfrey led the community as a council member from 1975 to 1991.

His daughter Oprah was in attendance for her father's funeral and spoke.

According to the funeral program, Gospel Singer Tamela Mann sang "Take Me to the King" for the musical selection.

The program also indicated that some community members spoke as well, including Mayor John Cooper and Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake.

Those who knew Winfrey said he will be missed.

"He used to be my barber. I got involved in politics. I ran for the city council. He was involved in the community in politics," said Ludie Wallace, "We both got elected to the city council at the same time. He was a few years older than me, and he can advise me and counseled me."

People said Winfrey would give them a haircut and great advice.

"I wanted to pay my respects and to say goodbye to him because he was such a man to remember. And many people will want to be admired like him and to be like Mr. Winfrey," Eddie Clemons said.

Winfrey was also an Army veteran serving in the Korean War.

He married Zelma Myers in 1958 and remained married to her for 29 years before she passed away. They shared an adopted son, Thomas Walker.

Winfrey went on to marry Barbara Williams in 2000, but they divorced in 2012.

He leaves behind his son Thomas Walker, daughter-in-law Cynthia Walker, daughter Oprah Winfrey, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Winfrey was buried at the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.