AUSTIN, Texas - A memorial monument honoring World War II veteran Richard Overton has now been unveiled to honor him at the Texas State Cemetery.
Overton would have been 116 on May 11 this year. He passed away on December 27, 2018 at the age of 112, and at the time of his death was the nation's oldest living veteran. Overton's funeral was held on January 12, 2019, and he was buried with full military honors at the Texas State Cemetery.
LIFE OF RICHARD OVERTON
Overton was born near Bastrop in 1906 and served in the army for three years during World War II. He spent the majority of his life in Austin and was often seen on the porch of his home, which he built in East Austin in 1945.
He gave credit to God for his longevity, but he always said cigars and whiskey helped. "I been smoking cigars from when I was 18 years old, I’m still a smoking ‘em. 12 a day," he once said.
The distinction of being the nation's oldest veteran brought quite a few visitors to his front porch.
"His service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home. But this veteran held his head high," Obama said.
In late 2016, Overton required 24/7 care and his family started a GoFundMe that reached more than $450,000 so he was able to stay in his home.
As for being the nation’s oldest veteran, Richard Overton was grateful. He said, "I ain’t gettin rich but I feel glad."
RICHARD OVERTON HONORED
The Texas State Cemetery monument isn't the only honor for Overton.
In 2020, the Cigar Vault opened up in East Austin and celebrated Overton's love of cigars with a mural.
A portion of Airport Boulevard was also renamed in memory of Overton.
Overton's East Austin home also received historic landmark status from Austin City Council as well.
FOX 7 also spoke with the following attendees of the memorial monument unveiling:
Sarah and Volma Jr. Overton
Sarah and Volma Jr. Overton are cousins of Richard Overton. The two spoke with FOX 7 on the importance of the memorial monument. Watch their full interview here.
Bergeron is a long-time friend of Richard Overton. He spoke with FOX 7 on his friendship with the Austin legend, and his thoughts on the monument honoring his late friend. Watch his full interview here.
Justin Renard Lewis
Lewis is the commander of the Disabled American Veterans' Lone Star Chapter 4. Lewis was asked to be a part of the memorial monument project. He told FOX 7 what is was like to be a part of this project, and what he hopes the monument brings to Austin. Watch Lewis' full interview here.
Richard Overton's East Austin home receives historic landmark status from City Council
Dec. 27, 2019 marks one year since passing of Richard Overton
Bill filed to designate Airport Blvd. as Richard Overton Memorial Highway
Austinites pay final respects and bid farewell to Mr. Overton
Remembering Richard Overton
Nation's oldest veteran Richard Overton turns 112
DOWNLOAD: FOX 7 AUSTIN NEWS APP
SUBSCRIBE: Daily Newsletter | YouTube
FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter