OVERTON, RICHARD ARVINE (1906 ~ 2018). The following is an obituary for Richard Arvine Overton, the one time oldest living World War II veteran. The obituary was provided by Cook-Walden Funeral Home of Austin.
Richard A. Overton, age 112, the oldest living WWII Veteran died peacefully on Thursday, December 27, 2018 surrounded by his family. Richard was born May 11, 1906 in Bastrop County, Texas. Mr. Overton was a longtime resident of Austin, Texas, living on a street -- Richard Overton Avenue -- renamed for him.
A Celebration of life for Richard will be held Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM at Shoreline Church, 15201 Burnet Road, Austin, Texas. Committal services, with Full Military Honors will take place on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 2:00 PM at Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota Street, Austin, Texas.
Mr. Overton volunteered for the Army starting in 1942 and served with the 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, an all-black unit that served on various islands in the Pacific. "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,'" former President Barack Obama said while honoring Overton at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 2013.
He credited God for living so long but said he didn't take any medicine and enjoyed his vices.
"I drink whiskey in my coffee. Sometimes I drink it straight," he said when he was 107. "I smoke my cigars, blow the smoke out; I don't swallow it."
In a statement Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Mr. Overton "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. "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."
"I still walk, I still talk, and I still drive," Overton said, before hopping into his Ford F100 Custom pickup truck. Overton also said he liked to go to church and enjoyed the singing. He also loved caring for his cats.
Family, friends and strangers all helped celebrate his 112th birthday in May by visiting him at his home.
Richard is survived by many cousins and extended family members.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Richard's memory may be made to Honor Flight Austin, 815-A Brazos Street, UPS Box 498, Austin, Texas 78701, www.honorflightaustin.org.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cookwaldenfuneralhome.com for the Overton family.