Richard Overton was in his mid-30s when he began serving in World War II. It was perhaps the most important thing he did in his life, but it was far from the last. Overton, who died Thursday after battling pneumonia, was 112. He was believed to be America’s oldest man, as well as its oldest living World War II veteran. He’d also spent decades on the furniture business, lived in his East Austin home for more than 70 years and had become something of a celebrity as he passed 108, 109 and later 112. The older he got, the more his charm wowed the folks around him. “With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday. “Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans.” He “lived his life with honor and dignity,” President Barack Obama said in 2013. “Everything we do with Mr. Overton turns magical,” a friend, Allen Bergeron, said during a 2018 tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. Overton, of course, had made history himself. Overton was born on May 11, 1906 in Bastrop County, Texas, a grandson of a Tennessee slave. He volunteered for the Army in his 30s and served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945. He had been at Pearl Harbor after the Japanese attacked, as well as Okinawa, a county in Japan and Iwo Jima. At 112, Richard Overton was still sharp mentally but had been in hospital seven times in 14 months, cousin Volma Overton Jr. said. He had no children. He’d married twice; he and his first wife divorced in the 1920s, and his second wife died in the 1980s. Overton Jr. said his cousin outlived almost everyone in his family.