The nation's oldest World War II veteran, Richard Overton, dies at age 112
The nation's oldest World War II veteran and oldest living man in the U.S., Richard Overton, died on in Texas at the age of 112.
Family members of the Army veteran revealed that he has passed away. Richard Overton had been hospitalized with pneumonia.
He was released on Christmas Eve, said Shirley Overton. Shirley's husband was Richard's cousin and his longtime caretaker.
"They had done all they could," she said.
He died on Thursday evening at a rehab facility in Austin, Texas. Richard Overton was in his 30s when he signed up for the Army. He was a soldier at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese attacked in 1941.
When asked what the secret to long life was he had said that it was smoking cigars and drinking whiskey. Both of which he did often on the porch of his Austin home.
The older he got the more the community loved him. His recent birthdays drew national attention and strangers would visit him just for a chance to meet him.
Well into his 100s, the active veteran drove widows from his neighborhood to church. The entire community is now mourning his death.
"With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Thursday, calling Overton "an American icon and Texas legend." adding that, "Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans."
"We can never repay Richard Overton for his service to our nation and for his lasting impact on the Lone Star State." added the governor.
In 2013, former President Barack Obama honored Overton at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The former president gave a heartwarming speech about Overton at the ceremony.
He said, "He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, 'I only got out of there by the grace of God.'"