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If You Ask Richard Overton the Secret to Longevity, He’ll Tell You God And Cigars Are the Answer

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Richard Overton was born in 1906. At 111 years old, he’s the oldest living U.S. veteran, and he resides in Austin, here in the Texas Hill Country. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News earlier this month, he exclaimed from his front porch, “I’m feeling pretty good today,” sitting in a lawn chair, smoking a Tampa Sweet cigar. And when the weather is respectable, Overton can be found there much of the time. His friends refer to the nearly 70-year-old porch as his “stage”.

If You Ask Richard Overton the Secret to Longevity He’ll Tell You God And Cigars Are the Answer

Photo: Facebook/Philips Lifeline

As America’s oldest veteran, Overton enjoys 10 hours each day on his front porch, thinking about life. A lifelong resident of Austin, he once served in the U.S. military, arriving at Pearl Harbor in World War II, just moments after the attack. Upon returning from the war, he spent most of his working life in furniture stores, and then at the Texas Department of Treasury. He was also a good marksman, with an acute ability to hunt rabbits. He’s been married twice, and never had children. He’s survived the majority of his closest family members, save for a first cousin that lives just down the street, and third cousins who visit daily.

If You Ask Richard Overton the Secret to Longevity He’ll Tell You God And Cigars Are the Answer

Photo: Facebook/KVUE

Overton begins his days at 3 a.m., with two to four cups of coffee. To increase the blood flow to his legs, he’ll walk about his house, and follows that up with smoking the first of his 12 daily cigars. If possible, he’ll fall back asleep, but each day he awaits the sun and his neighborhood to rise on Richard Overton Avenue (renamed as his namesake street on his 111th birthday). When it looked like he would struggle to remain in his home due to the cost of around-the-clock in-home care being prohibitive, friends and neighbors started a GoFundMe page in December 2016. Five months later, they’ve raised over $190,000 on his behalf. With two caregivers that work 12-hour shifts every day, Overton now has the ability to remain in his home, where he gets breakfasts of grits and a glass of whole milk, and lunches and suppers ranging from meatloaf to chicken to fried catfish.

If You Ask Richard Overton the Secret to Longevity He’ll Tell You God And Cigars Are the Answer

Photo: Facebook/Fox News

For his most recent birthday, on May 11, close to 200 visitors stopped by to celebrate on his front lawn, bringing gifts such as bottles of whiskey and fancy cigars. Whiskey is the drink of choice for this supercentenarian (actually, whiskey and Coke,) but when his caretakers call the shots, it’s always more mix than whiskey. All told, his cousins estimated that he received over 40 bottles as gifts, which are now spread throughout his home, in kitchen cupboards, a closet in the bedroom, and dresser drawers.

If You Ask Richard Overton the Secret to Longevity He’ll Tell You God And Cigars Are the Answer

Photo: Facebook/Let’s Roll Foundation

His home is decorated with medals from the war, certificates, and pictures of those he’s loved. He’s made not one, but two trips to the White House. He’s met politicians, athletes, and celebrities, and each one has asked him the secret to longevity. He answers that God and cigars are the key. In 2015, a short documentary was made about Overton by Austin filmmakers, and released by National Geographic. And at present, he contentedly spends hours on his “stage”, talks with the birds, waves at cars that go by honking, stares at planes overhead, and looks at trees he planted long ago, all while smoking a Tampa Sweet.

Source:

Dallas Morning News