The oldest man in the United States, Richard Overton, has died aged 112. Overton, who was also America’s oldest World War II veteran, passed away at a rehab facility in Dallas, Texas Thursday after a brief bout of pneumonia.
Overton became a volunteer in the army back in 1942 before serving in the all-black 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion on a number of locations across the Pacific Ocean, including Pearl Harbor.
“They had done all they could,” Shirley Overton, Richard’s long-term carer, told AP. Despite reaching staggeringly old age, it was obviously Overton’s time to go.
On Friday, the United States Army honored the hero with some heartfelt words. “Today we mourn not just a hero, but a legend,” the army posted in a tweet. “The oldest American #WWII Veteran, Richard Overton, died at the age of 112. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Overton family. He was a hero to us all. May you rest in peace Sir.”
Today we mourn not just a hero, but a legend.
The oldest American #WWII Veteran, Richard Overton, died at the age of 112.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Overton family. He was a hero to us all.
May you rest in peace Sir. https://t.co/4yGT8MmmRX
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) December 28, 2018
In 2013, former President Barack Obama took a moment to recognize Overton’s staggering life of service during a Veteran’s Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetary.
“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,’” Obama declared.
“Richard Overton is an American icon and a Texas legend,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a statement released Thursday.
“With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him. 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. On behalf of Texas, Cecilia and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.”
We are saddened that Mr. Richard Overton, the nation's oldest man, 3rd oldest living man in the world, and our Nation's oldest living veteran born in 1906, has died at age 112. "You don't know when you get here, you don't know when you go, it's in God's hands" – #RichardOverton pic.twitter.com/bZE48egckZ
— Texas Veterans Commission (@TexasVeterans) December 28, 2018
In May of this year, a birthday party was held to celebrate Overton turning 112. The massive event involved the vet’s entire street being shut down and attracted hundreds of guests. There’s lines and lines and loads of people waiting to see him constantly,” Overton’s cousin, Donna Fields, told KVUE-TV at the time.
Thank you for your service Mr. Overton. Rest In Peace, you will be missed!! pic.twitter.com/PhvNsC15uu
— Chief Brian Manley (@Chief_Manley) December 28, 2018
Born in 1906, Overton spent most of his days in Austin and was well known across the local area. Last year, Austin City Council renamed the street he had lived on for more than 70 years “Richard Overton Avenue.”
Pray that God comforts Richard’s family at their time of grief.