Richard Overton, America’s oldest living veteran, turns 112 on May 11. An Army veteran of World War II, he has lived in the same house in Austin, Texas since 1945. But Overton is not just America’s oldest veteran, he is now the oldest living man in America and believed to be the third oldest man on the planet.
Last year on his 111th birthday, Overton was treated by the entire city of Austin to a great celebration. That included a block party, festivities and the city renaming the street Richard Overton Avenue in his honor.
In October 2017, the WWII veteran got a major house renovation thanks to The Home Depot and Meal on Wheels. A crew of volunteers replaced flooring in his house, installed new electric wiring, remodeled his bathroom and landscaped the property. They also gave Overton something he had never had before in his 111 years of living: an air conditioner.
“I appreciate it,” Overton said of house work. “I’ve got some more life to live now. It’s a different world and I love it.”
Overton recently got another first: a trip on a private jet. When Austin billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith visited with Overton at his home for a few hours, Overton mentioned that he would one day like to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The very next day Overton and his friends were taking a private jet, arranged by Robert Smith, to Washington, D.C. where they got a special tour of the museum before it opened to the public.
When they were enjoying the World War II exhibit in the museum, Overton joked, “I didn’t see my name up there.”
His friends said, “One of these days it will be.”
Overton joined the Army in 1942, where he served with the famous 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion in the Pacific Theater, including Hawaii, Guam, Palau, and Iwo Jima. He was decorated for his service and has since been honored on multiple occasions by presidents and dignitaries for his service. After the war, he settled in Austin, Texas, where he worked for decades in the furniture industry.
As for his longevity, the supercentenarian says it’s up to God when it will be his time to go. In the meantime, he still enjoys smoking his daily cigars, drinking whiskey and indulging in his favorite treats, including ice cream. Mostly, Overton spends his days on his front porch — just as he has for years — watching the city go by with a smile on his face and talking with visitors who come to meet him in Austin, Texas.
Happy 112th birthday, Richard Overton!
Take the time to watch this amazing video of Richard Overton when he was 109!
Jacob H. is an award-winning journalist and photojournalist who currently resides is West Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys writing, photography, mountain climbing, and camping.