Richard Overton, who was the oldest man in the United States, as well as, America’s oldest World War II veteran died last Thursday at the age of 112.
Richard Overton was born in 1906, in Bastrop County, just outside Austin, Texas. He had been active and in good health until recently, when he succumbed to pneumonia in a rehab facility in Austin, Texas late last week.
Last year, the street Overton lived on was renamed in his honor for his 111th birthday.
America’s oldest man’s secret to longevity
Overton was the subject of a short documentary made in 2015 by Austin-based filmmakers Rocky Conley and Matt Cooper, that was titled, “Mr. Overton” in which they probed the centenarian for the secret of his longevity.
As far as dietary secrets, Overton revealed that he loved soup, corn, fish and milk.
“And ice cream,” Overton told the filmmakers. “I eat ice cream every night. It makes me happy…especially butter pecan.”
Overton also revealed other “vices” such as whiskey and cigars, up to 12 a day of the latter.
As for activities, Overton said, “I still walk, I still talk, and I still drive.” Then Overton hopped into his custom Ford F-150 pickup truck.
As for his overall longevity, Overton credited God.
As for Overton’s longevity advice to others, it’s simple: “Keep living, don’t die.”
America’s oldest veteran
Overton was the oldest living veteran of America’s Armed Forces. He volunteered for the Army beginning in 1942, and served with the 188th aviation engineer Battalion, and all-black unit serving on various islands in the Pacific, including Angaur, Palau; Peleliu, Micronesia; and Iwo Jima, Japan.
Honored by Obama in 2013
Overton was honored in 2013 during Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, in a speech by then-President Barack Obama.
Speaking to CNN at the time, Overton told the news agency that he didn’t like to think about or talk about the war. He told CNN, that he “forgot all that stuff.”
So when it came time to talk about his war experiences at the ceremony, it was President Barack Obama who spoke about Overton’s military service.
“He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering,” Obama said. “He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he [Overton] said. ‘I only got out of there by the grace of God.'”