Richard Overton


August 2017

Meals on Wheels Central Texas partnered with The Home Depot Foundation to repair Richard’s home. The upgrades included new electrical wiring, widened doorways, laminated floors, bathroom renovations and a central heating and air conditioning system.

July 13-15 2017

Trip to Memphis and to Nashville for family reunion.  In Memphis he stayed at the Peabody Hotel and served as an Honorary Duckmaster.  On the 14th of July he was on the front page of the local newspaper the “Commercial Appeal” with the headline story of “111 year old brings his story to Memphis”.  In Nashville he was the Senior member of his family reunion at Travellers Rest.  Travellers Rest is the Plantation where his grandfather was born and worked as a slave.

July 2017

Became the oldest known living man in the USA

May 11, 2017

Richard celebrates his 111th birthday. Austin Mayor Steve Adler declared May 11 as Richard Overton Day, and unveiled the biggest surprise: the city changed the name of the street where Overton resides to Richard Overton Avenue. That event brought out at least 200 well-wishers to his front lawn. Many of whom enjoyed having their photos taken with Overton. On that historic day, his neighbors showered Overton with tokens of love, including bottles of whiskey, coke and of course, those aromatic sweet cigars. In fact it is said that he still has several bottles of whiskey stashed throughout his home.

April 7, 2017

The VA Austin Outpatient Clinic in Austin named a healing garden in his honor.

March 31, 2017

Trip to D.C. with a special invite to visit the White House on the 31st of March and visiting the WWII Memorial along with the other war Memorials in D.C..

January 5, 2017

Senior Helpers began to provide Richard with homecare. He has two caregivers who work 12-hour shifts each day. They make him grits with a glass of whole milk for breakfast, and anything from chicken to meatloaf to fried catfish for lunch and dinner.


December 27, 2016

The GoFundMe campaign was created in efforts to raise money for round-the-clock care so Richard could stay in his home instead of moving into a nursing home.


August 2015

Richard Overton was featured in Cigar Aficionado magazine as America’s Oldest Cigar Smoker. He says the secret to long life is “Cigars and God”.

January 3, 2015

At 108 years old, Richard  represented The Greatest Generation at the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, held in San Antonio, Texas. He was asked to start the game off by delivering the game ball.


November 11, 2014

Grand Marshall of the 2014 Austin Veteran’s Day Parade


November 11, 2013

Richard returns to Washington D.C. to meet President Barack Obama. He was honored in front of a crowd of 4,000 people by President Barack Obama at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery. He once said his favorite moment was seeing a black president become elected. While in Washington he wanted to ask the President about his home in Hawaii, but they didn’t have time for that.

May 17, 2013

First trip to Washington DC with Honor Flight, an Austin nonprofit organization that takes Texas veterans to the capital to visit the memorials. The highlight of his trip to Washington was not the WWII memorial — it was the one dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., where he wept.


East Austin filmmakers Rocky Conly and Matt Cooper began filming some of the day-to-day life of Mr. Overton. They spent countless hours with him, listening to his stories and capturing his thoughts and reflections on what was then 107 years.



Second wife Wilma passed away



Purchased his Ford pickup truck



Began working for Western Pipeline as a Porter



Began working at Gage Furniture as a warehouse man


Late 1945

After the war, he returned to Austin and purchased his east Austin home for $4,500 – he still lives in it today.

October 1945

He retired from the Army as a corporal technician fifth grade, having been awarded numerous distinctions, including the Expert Rifle Marksmanship Badge, Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the American Campaign Medal.

September 2, 1945

WWII ended

Abt. 1945

Richard met his second wife Wilma


September 3, 1942

He joined the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and served during World War II in the Pacific Theater with the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion, an all-black unit. He was stationed in Palau, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa – often he was shipped out without knowing his destination.


December 20, 1941

Amendments to the Selective Training and Service Act made all men between the ages of 20 and 44 liable for military service, and required all men between the ages of 18 and 64 to register


October 29, 1940

The first lottery drawing was held for the draft.

September 16, 1940

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act, creating the country’s first peacetime draft and officially establishing the Selective Service System. The act required all American men between the ages of 21 and 35 to register for the draft. Draftees were selected by lottery.


Worked as a driver for a furniture store, Bargain Furniture


September 1, 1939

WWII began



Married first wife Novella Prince



Bought first car – a Mercury


Richard worked various jobs from picking cotton, harvesting corn, construction work and cooking.



Richard was twelve years old when he shot his first gun, growing up on a farm – hunting was essential.


May 11, 1906

Richard was the fourth of ten born to Gentry and Elizabeth Overton, in the town of St. Mary’s Colony, a black farming community east of Austin, Texas. Founded shortly after emancipation by freed slaves, the town’s population dwindled from a high of 300. Lack of irrigation made farming the dry land there a hard life.