Richard Overton, the nation’s oldest World War II veteran who was also believed to be the oldest living man in the U.S., died Thursday in Texas, a family member said. He was 112.
The Army veteran had been hospitalized with pneumonia but was released on Christmas Eve, said Shirley Overton, whose husband was Richard’s cousin and his longtime caretaker.
“They had done all they could,” she said.
Richard Overton was in his 30s when he volunteered for the Army and was at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese attack in 1941.
He was born May 11th in Bastrop County in 1906, served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945 during World War II, as part of the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion. After the war, he returned to Austin, and he has lived in the same home ever since. He started selling furniture in Austin, TX after his discharge and later worked in the state Treasurer’s Office.
Back in 2015, at 109-years-old, Richard revealed his secret to staying active and remaining in good health: Whiskey and cigars.
“I may drink a little in the evening too with some soda water, but that’s it,” Overton told FOX News. “Whiskey’s a good medicine. It keeps your muscles tender.”
When speaking about his spiritual life, Overton gets serious and says living right is much more simple than people make it out to be.
“Church is just for everybody, but its gotta be for one person, and that’s yourself,” Overton says. “It’s good to have a spiritual life, but you gotta live it.”
He also has good financial health habits too. “Everything I want, I pay cash for it. Straight cash.”
“With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Thursday, calling Overton “an American icon and Texas legend.”
“Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans,” the governor added. “We can never repay Richard Overton for his service to our nation and for his lasting impact on the Lone Star State.”
People from around the nation took to social media after the passing of Overton. Here are some of their statements.
On Facebook, Heather Elaine Duckworth writes, “It was such an honor to know you and call you my friend. I loved seeing you every Sunday morning!! You truly will be missed dearly. You and Ms. Love are together again and…