The Good Life

112 and Feeling Fine

The oldest man in America smokes cigars every day
By David Savona | From Matthew McConaughey, July/August 2018
112 and Feeling Fine
Photo: Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP

The oldest man in the United States, Richard A. Overton, turned 112 on May 11, and he celebrated that momentous day like he does any other—by smoking cigars.

“I’m happy every day,” he said while puffing a cigar in his home in East Austin, Texas, on his birthday. It was 2:30 in the afternoon, and he was already on cigar number six. “I don’t have no worries. I feel fine—I ain’t got no aches, pains or nothing.”

Overton smokes cigars every day, and likes them mild. He smoked his first cigar in 1924, when he was 18. His regular brand is a Tampa Sweet. “I smoke 12 a day,” he says, “but I don’t inhale them. It’s the good taste. Let your lungs stay clean.”

Overton not only loves his cigars, but he has a taste for whiskey. “You put a taste of whiskey in your coffee in the morning,” he advises. “It’s like medicine.”

Overton was born in St. Mary’s Colony, Texas, in 1906. The Dow Jones would break 100 for the first time that year, newspapers sold for a penny apiece and man had flown for a mere three years. Overton joined the U.S. Army during World War II, and his service took him to the South Pacific, where the United States fought some of its bloodiest battles. His boots hit the beaches of Guam, Palau and Iwo Jima, and he survived the war uninjured. 

Light a cigar and raise your glass to Mr. Overton, America’s oldest man—and oldest cigar aficionado.

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