Richard Overton, America’s oldest living man and the world’s oldest living World War II veteran, celebrated his 112th birthday on Friday.
Overton was born near Austin, Texas, in 1906. During World War II, Overton served as a marksman in a segregated unit while stationed in Pearl Harbor and Okinawa. He served in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945 with stops in Hawaii, Guam, and Iwo Jima.
He currently resides in East Austin, where he has lived since the 1940s.
The Gerontology Research Group lists Overton as the oldest living American man. The only other man on that list, Masazou Nonaka of Japan, has not publicly claimed to be a veteran of World War II.
According to a recent profile in the Dallas Morning News, Overton’s path to longevity isn’t what most doctors would recommend.
He smokes a dozen cigars a day (smoking increases cancer risk). He enjoys whiskey and coke (alcohol is reported to cut life expectancy). And he wakes up with multiple cups of coffee (California is adding cancer warnings to coffee), the newspaper reports.
His secret to longevity? “Just keep living, don’t die.”
That’s what he told comedian Steve Harvey over a decade ago, according to the Dallas Morning News.
In 2017, a fundraising effort helped to provide Overton with in-home care, according to KVUE-TV, Austin.
The Overton family raised more than $200,000 through a GoFundMe to cover costs for in-home care.
Home Depot, Meals on Wheels and Austin Energy also teamed up to renovate his home, fixing the wiring and plumbing, bringing it up to code, and adding heating and air conditioning.
SOURCE: KVUE-TV, Austin; USA Today – Joel Shannon