Richard Arvin Overton was born in Bastrop, Texas, USA, on 11 May 1906 to parents Jim Gentry Overton (1877–1920) and Elizabeth Franklin (1876–1939). In 1926, he married Novella Prince (1906–1989).
In 1940, he started working as a driver for a furniture store. On 3 September 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He served in the South Pacific until 1945, including stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau, and Iwo Jima. He left the U.S. Army in October 1945 as a technician fifth grade.
After the war, he returned to Austin and purchased his home in east Austin, where he lived until the end of his life.
Overton had no children with his first wife and they divorced at some point. Around 1945, he met Wilma Galloway, his second wife. He started working as a warehouse man, and later as a porter.
In 1988, his second wife died. The couple had no children
Overton had been known to smoke about a dozen cigars a day, even in late life. In 2013, he gained media attention during the 2013 Memorial Day weekend when he told Fox News he would spend his Memorial Day “smoking cigars and drinking whiskey-stiffened coffee.” He was invited to the White House where he met with President Barack Obama.
Overton died in Austin, Texas, USA, on 27 December 2018 at the age of 112 years, 230 days. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia earlier that month.