Richard Overton Dies

Richard Overton, America's Oldest World War II Veteran, Dies at 112

American hero Richard Overton, America's oldest man and the oldest World War II veteran, died Thursday (Dec. 27) at the age of 112.

Overton was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this month. According to NBC News, family member Shirley Overton said the veteran was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve.

Overton was born in Bastrop County in Texas in 1906. He joined the military in 1942 and served overseas in the Pacific. He retired from the Army in 1945 with the rank of Corporal.

Overton was a longtime resident of Austin, Texas, spending over seven decades in the house he built after returning home from World War II.

The veteran was a beloved and well-respected resident of the east Austin neighborhood where he lived. The street where he lived was renamed Richard Overton Avenue. Last year, over $100,000 was raised to keep Overton in his home. The funds covered the cost of in-home care for the American hero. Shortly after, Meals on Wheels Central Texas Home Repair stepped in to renovate Overton's home to make it easier for him to make his way around the house.

When news of Overton's passing spread, neighborhood residents gathered at a mural depicting Overton at the intersection of 12th and Chicon to celebrate his life.

Overton has rightfully been recognized for his heroism by state and national leaders. He was invited to the White House by former president Barack Obama and he was personally gifted a bottle of whiskey by former Texas governor Rick Perry.

Overton once said his advice for a lengthy life was to "Keep living, don't die."  Even at 112, Overton continued to drive and take care of his lawn and once told the Wall Street Journal that he credited his long life to drinking whiskey.

In a statement about Overton's passing, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the veteran "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 honored to have known him," Abbott said in the statement. "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."