AUSTIN, Texas — He may have been the most popular man in Austin. Mr. Richard Overton wasn’t just a local hero, or a state hero, but America’s hero and the oldest living World War II veteran up until his death at 112 years old.
Saturday, following his funeral service, crowds of people, both young and old, lined the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin to pay their final respects as Mr. Overton’s motorcade reached his final resting grounds.
"I think it's important. I think even if you didn't know him, I think it's important to be here,” said Pepper Thomas. "For someone to be alive at 112 years old and being a part of service to the community and to the world, that's major.”
And this was a major moment army veteran Anthony Colquitt wasn’t willing to miss.
"We have this saying we never leave nobody behind,” he said. “We're not leaving him behind. Today is his final day.”
A few blocks away at Mr. Overton’s home on Hamilton Ave. also known as Richard Overton Ave., people stopped by to remember his service and the lessons he left behind.
"I can just picture him smiling and being honored,” said Michelle Henderson, one of Overton’s cousins. "Richard Overton is my third cousin, my grandmother, Irene Overton, and he were first cousins."
His services not only brought a community closer together, but family too. After stopping by Overton’s home, Henderson was able to connect with family members she’d never known.
"Because of Richard, we just met,” Henderson said. “We had no idea we were closely related.”