'World's Oldest Man' celebrates 114th birthday
Wednesday 22 September 2010
A US resident believed to be the world's oldest man celebrated his 114th birthday at a retirement home.
Walter Breuning was born on September 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota, and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years.
His wife, Agnes, a railway telegraph operator from Butte, died in 1957. The couple had no children.
Mr Breuning inherited the distinction of being the world's oldest man in July 2009 when Briton Henry Allingham died at age 113.
Mr Allingham joked that the secret to long life was "Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women - and a good sense of humour," according to Guinness World Records.
The Guinness organisation and the Gerontology Research Group each verified Mr Breuning as the world's oldest man and the fourth-oldest person. Three women were born earlier in the same year as Mr Breuning.
Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records, presented Mr Breuning with a copy of the book's 2011 edition that lists him as the record holder.
"Walter wasn't in last year's edition," Mr Young joked. "He was too young."
The Great Falls Tribune reported that Mr Breuning gave a speech before about 100 people at an invitation-only birthday party at the Rainbow Retirement Community, with a guest list that included Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and representatives from Guinness World Records.
Mr Breuning was helped up to a lectern from his motorised cart, appearing somewhat frail but speaking with a strong voice.
He recalled "the dark ages," when his family moved to South Dakota in 1901 and lived for 11 years without electricity, water or plumbing.
"Carry the water in. Heat it on the stove. That's what you took your bath with. Wake up in the dark. Go to bed in the dark. That's not very pleasant," he said.
He said men and women may be able to enjoy life, but they can not be content without a belief or faith. His parting message to the crowd was one of tolerance.
"With all the hatred in this world, in this good world, let us be kind to one another," Mr Breuning said.
Mr Breuning has celebrity status at the retirement home, with visitors waiting in line to see him, Ray Milversted, 92, told the Tribune.
Tina Bundtrock, executive director of the Rainbow, said the home adopted a policy of scheduling visits with Mr Breuning by appointment, so he is not taxed by people dropping in to see him.
Before his birthday party, Mr Breuning declined to name a favourite among the 114 years he has seen.
"Every year is the same," Mr Breuning told the Great Falls newspaper.
But he criticised one modern invention - the computer.
"When the computer came out, that was one of the worst things," Mr Breuning said. "They laid off all the clerks on the railroad."
But, he added: "Every change is good."
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...