Richard Overton, the nation’s oldest World War II veteran, lives in East Austin where he spends his days sweeping pecans off of his front porch, smoking cigars, and enjoying the perks of being a celebrity. Reshma Kirpalani / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Nation's oldest WWII veteran turns 110

He plans to mark the occasion with a neighborhood party near his home in Austin, Texas -- where he will likely celebrate his birth surrounded by loved ones and smoke from his favorite cigars.

Overton earned the title of America’s oldest World War II veteran after the death of 110-year-old Frank Levingston, of Louisiana, on May 3.

Levingston, who for two weeks this year was also America’s oldest man, had enlisted in the Army in October 1942 and participated in the Allied invasion of Italy against the Nazis in 1943.

Overton, who joined the U.S. Army in September 1942 and fought the Japanese in the South Pacific, left the Army as a sergeant in October 1945, a month after the war with Japan ended.

Overton has photos with presidents and governors lining the walls of his dining room, the American-Statesman reported in a profile on Overton last year. A table in his house was said to be littered with correspondence and photos from people all over who want to share their experiences, get an autograph or learn the secret to his longevity.

"God give it to me," he said. "They tried to kill me in the Army, but God wouldn’t let 'em. I stayed for nearly five years and I didn’t get a scratch on me."

He offered one bit of advice about his longevity:

"Sometimes I’ll get up and put a little whiskey in my coffee," he said. "And at night when I go to bed, I put two tablespoons in my 7 Up. It makes you sleep soundly."

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.