Crafting Your Experience

Six Square | Austin's Black Cultural District

Richard Arvin Overton Mural

Richard Arvin Overton (May 11, 1906–December 27, 2018) was an American supercentenarian who, by the time of his death at the age of 112 years, 230 days, was the oldest verified surviving U.S. World War II veteran and the oldest man in the U.S. Having served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1945, Overton gained media attention during the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, when he met Texas Governor Rick Perry and was invited to the White House to meet President Barack Obama. At the Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, he was singled out for praise by the president. Overton in his later years had become an Austin, Texas, icon, especially in his African-American East Side neighborhood, where he resided in the same home for more than 70 years. He loved conversation and had a great sense of humor, which is why complete strangers would sometimes visit his front porch just to talk to him. To celebrate his birthdays, the community would gather around that same porch, bringing food and lawn chairs while a DJ would play music. Other veterans from various branches, firefighters, and distinguished city leaders, such as Mayor Steve Adler, would stop by to salute the grateful Overton. Overton was the subject of a 2016 National Geographic documentary, Mr. Overton, in which he discusses his daily routine, military service, and longevity—which was belied by his great affinity for smoking multiple cigars per day as well as drinking a shot of whiskey in the morning and one at night. He was featured in Cigar Aficionado magazine in 2015, where he credits tobacco and God for his long life.

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