AUSTIN (KXAN) — If Richard Overton were to be described in one word, you’d need two.
“If I could mix funny and love together, it would be those,” said his cousin, Volma Overton Jr.
A funeral service for the late World War II veteran will take place on Jan. 12, according to Military Veterans Program Administrator Allen Bergeron, who was also a close friend.
“It’s hard not to love that guy,” Bergeron said. “He has become an icon for our city, our state and our country, but for me, he was a father figure, a grandfather figure, a spiritual mentor, if you will.”
The service will begin at 11 a.m. at Shoreline Church at 15201 Burnet Road, north of Austin. The funeral will be open to the public and Overton will be buried in the Texas State Cemetery on 909 Navasota Street, just a few blocks from his home he built 72 years ago.
Overton was the oldest World War II veteran in the country and died at the age of 112 Thursday while recovering from pneumonia. His dying wish was to turn his long-time home into a museum for everyone to see, family members told KXAN.
“It’s like a museum as it is,” Volma Overton Jr. said, recalling how people would always ask questions about the many amazing pictures and honors in the house.
GALLERY: See Richard Overton through the years
Overton was born on May 11, 1906, in Bastrop County. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1942 at Fort Sam Houston near San Antonio. Overton served in the South Pacific from 1942 through 1945, serving in Hawaii, Okinawa, Guam and Iwo Jima.
It was in his later years that he became a national celebrity, including a guest of President Barack Obama for Veterans Day, where Overton slipped the president a few of his signature cigars. Still, Volma Overton Jr. said while he and others were letting people know about Richard Overton, Richard and his sharp wit didn’t feel or see himself as someone who was famous.
“As far as Richard is concerned, he’s still Richard, and he was Richard till the end,” Volma Overton Jr. said. “He’s always shown his love to all.”