‘I wanted to see the world:’ Central Florida WWII vet celebrates 105th birthday

Richard Overman Sr. served in the Air Force for over 20 years

EDGEWATER, Fla. – A Central Florida World War II veteran celebrated his 105th birthday with friends and family on Monday.

Richard Overman Sr. has a pretty simple formula when it comes to living a long, happy life.

“Stay busy, make your friends, have your fun,” Overman said. “I take every day and get as much out of it as I possibly can.”

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Overman’s son, Richard Overman Jr., was there to celebrate the big day too.

“Got a lot of thoughts running through my head,” Overman Jr., said. “It’s just admiration for a good dad and a good man.”

A good man who served for more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force.

“I wanted to see the world,” Overman said. “The only reason I went into the service with my friend is we were looking for adventure, and we found it.”

Overman spent time all over the globe while serving during WWII.

“I had been in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy,” Overman said. “The war was over, and they picked us all up and they put us on a boat and my whole squadron ended up in one of those southern countries. There were 17 air groups over there and they were ready to go to Japan and finish the war.”

After his time in the military, Overman worked in law enforcement for 22 years — 16 of those years were spent at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

“I stayed 22 years and retired, and then did 22 years as a cop and enjoyed doing them both,” Overman said. “I’d do them both over if I could.”

Overman Jr. also had a career in law enforcement and said it was his father who inspired him to join the force.

“You know I mean if I tell the truth I would say yes,” Overman Jr. said. “I might not have said it then. I spent nearly 40 years in law enforcement and never looked back.”

Woodrow Wilson was president of the U.S. when Overman was born in 1918. Since then, he’s seen more than a dozen presidents, the Great Depression, and several wars. Overman’s son said he handles crisis better than everyday life.

“I’m not a quitter,” Overman said. “I’ve been through some tough times and managed it all. You don’t live 105 years and not have your problems, because you do.”

Overman said he doesn’t have plans to slow down any time soon.

“I just have fun with other people,” Overman said. “You can’t have fun by yourself. If you go off in the corner, you’re not going to live a very happy life.”

Overman ended his big birthday with a party that of course included cake and presents.

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Emily joined WKMG-TV in November 2022.