The average human lifespan is now 79 years. Of course, many people live longer than this, but not many manage to become centenarians, people who have lived for a 100 years. An even rarer occurrence is to find someone who has lived long enough to celebrate their 110th birthday, or a supercentenarian.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, there are estimated to be only 300–450 living supercentenarians in the world, but they’ve managed to verify only 50 of them. One of those verified people is Richard Arvine Overton, the oldest living World War II veteran.
Mr. Overton was born on 11 May 1906. He joined the US Army on 3 September 1942 in Texas and served during WWII as a member of the infantry. Richard participated in battles across the Pacific and was present during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He also took part in the clashes in Palau, Iwo Jima and Guam and retired from the army when the war was over.
After he returned to Texas, the veteran worked at several furniture stores before getting a job at the Texas Department of the Treasury in Austin, where he still lives. Richard never fathered any children, although he’s been married twice. He became the oldest surviving WWII veteran on 3 May 2016 when Frank Levingston, another veteran and supercentenarian died on the age of 110. Richard Overton celebrated his 110th birthday a week later, on 11 May 2016.
The veteran gained fame during the Memorial Day in 2013 when he met President Obama in the White House. He was also present at the Veteran’s Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery where the President himself praised the veteran.
In 2015, a short documentary was made of the life of Richard Overton by the Austin film makers Rocky Conly and Matt Cooper, in which Richard spoke about his habits and daily routines. The supercentenarian stated that he’s still enjoying cigars and whiskey, while he’s also proclaimed to be the oldest American smoker.
In November 2015, Overton was diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized. Today, he lives in his home in Austin, but is in need of 24/7 home care. In December 2016 a fundraiser has begun on the GoFundMe website, with the purpose of helping Richard continue his life in his home instead of in a nursing center. So far, around 3,700 people have donated and the sum of nearly $ 170,000 has been raised.
The goal of the fundraiser is $ 200,000 and we honestly hope this veteran will get stay in his home till the end of his amazingly long life.