America’s oldest World War II veteran and the oldest man in the country, Richard Overton, has died. He was 112, his family said. He died on Thursday, the CNN reported.
He was hospitalised with pneumonia, his family member Shirley Overton said.
Richard Overton volunteered for the Army in 1942 and served with the 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, an all-black unit that served on various islands in the Pacific. In 2013 he said that he credited God for living so long and didn’t take any medicine and enjoyed his vices.
Talking to the media, he had said that he didn’t like thinking or talking about the war, saying he “forgot all that stuff”. “I drink whiskey in my coffee. Sometimes I drink it straight,” he had said when he was 107. “I smoke my cigars, blow the smoke out; I don’t swallow it.”
Overton was a longtime resident of Austin, Texas. He lived on a street called Richard Overton Avenue — named after him. In a statement on Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called Overton “an American icon and a Texas legend”. “With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honoured to have known him,” Abbott said.
“Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans.” In 2015, Overton was the subject of a short documentary titled “Mr. Overton”.