America’s oldest living World War II veteran celebrated 112th birthday

Times Staff Report
FILE – In this March 23, 2017, file photo, Richard Overton leaves the court after a special presentation honoring him as the oldest living American war veteran, during a timeout in an NBA basketball game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs. Overton was honored by his hometown of Austin, Texas, on his 111th birthday on May 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)

Richard Overton, the nation’s oldest living World War II veteran, celebrated his 112th birthday with his Austin, Texas neighborhood.

Overton was born May 11, 1906 in Bastrop County, Texas, and he still calls it home well over a century later.

The Austin-Statesman reported family and friends threw a birthday bash outside his house Friday, which is located on a street that now bears his name – Richard Overton Avenue.

“I love to have a birthday,” Overton said, according to the newspaper. “That’s another day. I hope I live another five years.”

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.

In 2016, his family started a GoFundMe campaign so he wouldn’t have to move into an assisted living facility. So far, the campaign has raised more than $234,246 to provide him with in-home care.

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. He enjoys whiskey and coke. And he wakes up with multiple cups of coffee, the newspaper reports.

His secret to longevity? “Just keep living, don’t die.”

USA Today and WSMV contributed to this report.