Saturday, April 16, 2011

World's oldest man (Walter Breuning) dies aged 114

World's oldest man (Walter Breuning) dies aged 114 in Picture pic image gallery in the phenomena blogWalter Breuning was born in 1896 and lived through two world wars and more than a century of history.

A railroad man for most of his working life Breuning started work in 1916, bought his first car in 1919 and retired in 1967 before returning to work again as the manager and secretary for the Shriners until the grand old age of 99. In the years before his death Breuning would sit outside the Rainbow Retirement Community in an armchair wearing a suit and tie next to a Guinness World Records certificate proclaiming him the world's oldest man.

' - Walter Breuning, the world’s oldest man and second-oldest person, has died in the US, aged 114. Breuning died of natural causes in a Montana hospital, said a spokeswoman for the retirement home where he lived. He was 26 days younger than Besse Cooper of Georgia, whom the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles lists as the world’s oldest person at 114.
In an interview with The Associated Press last autumn, Breuning attributed his longevity to eating just two meals a day, working as long as he could and always embracing change - especially death.
‘We’re all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you’re born to die,’ he said.

Breuning was born on September 21, 1896, in Minnesota and spent his early years in South Dakota. That first decade of the 1900s was literally a dark age for his family. They had no electricity or running water. A bath for young Walter would require his mother to fetch water from the well outside and heat it on the coal-burning stove.
He lied about his age and got a job in Minnesota with the Great Northern Railway at 16. He moved to Montana two years later and remained a loyal railwayman for the rest of his life, working there for 50 years, marrying co-worker Agnes Twokey and travelling by aeroplane only once in his life. He earned $90 a month for working seven days a week at the beginning, an amount he said was a lot of money at that time. In 1919, he bought his first car, a $150 second-hand Ford. Breuning remembered driving around town and spooking the horses that still crowded the dirt streets of Great Falls.

‘We had more damn runaways back in those days,’ Breuning said. ‘Horses are just scared of cars.’
He and his wife bought property for $15 and planned to build a house but everything went belly up when the Depression struck. ‘Everybody got laid off in the ’30s,’ Breuning said.

‘Nobody had any money at all. In 1933, they built the civic centre over here. Sixty-five cents an hour, you know. That was the wage - big wage.'
Breuning was able to hold on to his job, but he and Agnes never built their house. They sold the lot for $25, making a tidy $10 profit. It turned out to be the only time Breuning ever owned property - he was a renter for the rest of his life. Agnes died in 1957 after 35 years of marriage. The couple had no children and Breuning never remarried. In 1963 - the year the Beatles released their first album - Breuning decided it was time to retire at 67. But he stuck by his philosophy and kept working.

He became the manager and secretary for the freemasons organisation the Shriners, a position he held until he was 99.
Breuning moved into the Rainbow Retirement Community in 1980, calling home a spare studio apartment with bare walls. He would spent his days in an armchair outside the retirement home director’s office in a suit and tie, sitting near a framed Guinness Book of Records certificate proclaiming him the world’s oldest man. He would eat breakfast and lunch and then retire to his room in the early afternoon. He would visit the doctor just twice a year for check-ups and the only medication he would take was aspirin, director Tina Bundtrock said.

With most of his relatives gone, Breuning said his real family was there in the Rainbow. He received letters from admirers from around the world and he kept up with world events. 'Everybody says your mind is the most important thing about your body. Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, and by God you’ll be here a long time,' he said. Breuning had not asked for a funeral, retirement home officials said, and requested that donations be given to the Shriners’ Children’s Travel Fund and the Scottish Rite Language Disorder Center in lieu of flowers.

source - here


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