In his long-time Austin home in Texas, Richard Overton celebrated his 111st birthday.
After the death of Frank Levingston in 2016, Richard Overton became the oldest World War II veteran in America.
He was born on May 11, 1906 in Bastrop County. The veteran was a distant relative of President Andrew Jackson. He is also a cousin to Volma Overton, an Austin civil rights leader in the 1960’s.
Richard served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945 as part of the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion.
After the war, he returned to Austin, where he was significantly appreciated on Thursday.
In commemoration of his valor and sacrifice, a birthday lunch was held for Overton at the University of Texas Club in Austin. The occasion was attended by Austin Mayor, Steve Adler.
“Celebrating Richard Overton’s 111th birthday is a chance to celebrate what is best about our country and our community,”
As the birthday celebration unfolded the WWII veteran was honored with a permanent display of recognition in East Austin neighborhood. The street of his residence formerly known as Hamilton Avenue has now been renamed as Richard Overton Avenue.
The former soldier has lived in his home for over 7 decades.
In one occasion he experienced difficulty affording a full-time home care. Everyone feared that he would die if there was ever a cause that he needed to leave the house.
To help him out a Gofundme page was set up. Up until yesterday, report says that he had received donations worth $169,000. According to the website, the target was to get the sum of $200,000.
In 2013, Richard Overton was invited to the White House to meet U.S. President Barack Obama. It was the Veterans’ Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The former President praised and appreciated him before 4000 people who were gathered.
Coincidentally he says his favorite moment in history was seeing Obama become president.
On his return to Austin, Overton took up a job at local furniture stores and later worked with the Texas Department of the Treasury.
He was married twice but didn’t have any children. His wife, Wilma, died in 1988 when he was 82 years old.
Robert’s favorite foods are catfish and gravy, corn, hamburgers and macaroni and cheese. His favorite part of the house is the porch.
“That’s just a happy place to be,”
“You’re supposed to have a porch where you can sit and relax and look at the world, look at the sunshine, look at the moon, get in the sun,”
Spending time in his porch is twice as remarkable because he gets to smoke his cigar.
“I’ve been smoking cigars from when I was 18 years old, I’m still a smoking them, 12 a day”
The war veteran gives credit to God for his longevity. He goes to church often. Leaving a word of advise for young people, Richard said:
“I’d tell them behave themselves.”