The oldest veteran in American history lived until 112, and he smoked 12 cigars a day that entire time.
Richard Overton, an Army veteran of World War II enjoyed whiskey for much of his later years, which he spent in Austin, Texas.
When Overton turned 109 his Austin neighborhood threw him an early birthday party on May 3, consisting of burgers, milkshakes, and of course cigars.
“I smoke at least 12 Tampa Sweet cigars a day,” Overton told The Wall Street Journal.
“I’ve been smoking cigars since I was 18 years old,” he added to ABC. “I have over $100 worth of cigars now.”
A celebrity in his own right, Overton had a long line of well-wishers attend his “Mighty Fine at 109”-themed celebration. Among the guests was the mayor of Austin, Steve Adler.
“You are just one of the treasures that we have in this city,” Adler told Overton during the celebrations.
Born May 11, 1906, Overton was most likely the longest-living veteran, although it is impossible to verify because not all veterans are registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He served in the South Pacific during the war before selling furniture in Austin after his discharge and later working in the state Treasurer’s Office, according to The Chronicle.
“I’ve gotten so many letters and so many thank yous and I enjoy every bit of it, but I’m still going to enjoy some more,” Overton told The Chronicle.
Mr. Richard Overton, the oldest living veteran. Kids, do not play on his lawn. pic.twitter.com/VQ0twXRdi1
— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) November 10, 2014
The Houston Chronicle described Overton’s lifestyle in November 2013: “He drives and walks without a cane. During a television interview in March, he told a reporter that he doesn’t take medicine, smokes cigars every day and takes whiskey in his morning coffee. The key to living to his age, he said, is simply ‘staying out of trouble.'”
“I may drink a little in the evening too with some soda water, but that’s it,” Overton told Fox News. “Whiskey’s a good medicine. It keeps your muscles tender.”
Overton admitted that he didn’t truly know what to credit for his long life. “You have to ask God about that. He brought me here and he’s taking care of me, and nothing I can do about it,” Overton told the Post.
However, his neighbors had a few ideas of their own as to how Overton kept chugging along.
“Whiskey and cigars and never stop moving,” a neighbor told Fox affiliate KTBC.
In addition to his somewhat unorthodox habits, Overton stayed busy throughout the day — trimming trees, helping with horses, and never watches television, according to Fox.
Paul Szoldra contributed to this report.
More from Business Insider:
- 10 things you probably didn’t know about ‘Full Metal Jacket’
- 10 works of fiction every US service member should read
- We know more about ISIS leader Baghdadi’s debilitating spinal injury
- Finnish military launches massive reservist campaign, denies it has to do with Russia
- BREMMER: Here come the non-US drones