Walter Breuning

Walter Breuning

Long-liver from the USA, Guinness Book of Records holder
Date of Birth: 21.09.1896
Country: USA

Biography of Walter Breuning

Walter Breuning, a long-lived man from the United States, holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest living person at the age of 114. He became the oldest man in the United States on December 27, 2008, after the death of George Francis. After the death of World War I veteran Henry Allingham on July 18, 2009, he was recognized as the oldest living man. Additionally, on his 110th birthday, he was acknowledged as the oldest former railroad worker in the United States. His celebration was honored by the Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, and the Mayor of the city. Furthermore, Walter Breuning is the last surviving man born in 1896.

Walter Breuning was born in the city of Melrose, Minnesota, in a family of John and Cora Breuning. He had four siblings, and longevity ran in his family. Both of his paternal grandparents lived to be over 90 years old, and his siblings lived to be 78, 85, 91, and 100 years old. According to Walter, his earliest memories were stories told by his grandfather about the Civil War. His childhood was extremely difficult, as his family lived without electricity, running water, or plumbing. They had to heat water on a wood stove to bathe. Conditions at the rural school where Walter studied were only slightly better.

In 1910, Walter was forced to drop out of school at the age of 14 when his parents divorced, and he began working as a tinsmith. His parents died during World War I. Walter registered for military service but was never called up. In 1913, he started working as a railroad worker and spent 50 years on the Great Northern Railway and its successor companies. In his youth, Walter had to avoid encounters with the company's owner, James Jerome Hill, as Hill did not want underage workers in his company. Walter moved from Minnesota to Montana in 1918, where he continued working as a railroad clerk.

In 1922, Walter Breuning married a telegraph operator named Agnes Twokey, and they lived together for thirty-five years. They did not have any children. After his wife's death in 1957, Walter never remarried. He retired at the age of 66. When he was well into his eighties, Walter moved to a nursing home in Great Falls, Montana. He continued to lead an active social life and attended meetings of a local club of which he was a longtime member until the age of 99. In 2008, he gained public attention when he became the oldest living man in the United States.

Despite his age, Walter Breuning is in very good physical condition. He is able to move independently, eats two meals a day, enjoys ice cream, and even drives a special motor scooter on occasion. He has clear thinking and a great memory. In November 2007, at the age of 111, Walter had to start using a hearing aid. On February 16, 2009, he participated in Jim Lehrer's News Hour, where he shared his views on the newly elected President of the United States and the state of the American economy.

On April 24, 2009, Walter Breuning was featured in an episode of CBS Evening News. On September 21, 2010, he turned 114 years old. The celebratory events held in his honor were attended by representatives from Guinness World Records, as well as Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana. Reflecting on his childhood, Walter said, "When I look back on the last 100 years, I can only wonder what life would be like without electricity. There were no buses. I remember walking to school in the cold winter. We had to move our desks closer to the wood stove to keep warm. And after school, we had to walk back in the frost. Everyone walked – there was simply no other choice."

On his 112th birthday, he shared his thoughts on his longevity and good physical shape, saying, "Keep your mind and body in shape, and you will be able to stay among the living for a long time." When asked why he never remarried after becoming a widow at the age of 60, Walter replied, "A second marriage is never real. Even the first marriage is not real now."