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Montana Man Believed To Be World's Oldest

A 112-year-old American is believed to be the world's oldest living man, after the death of an British World War I veteran this past Saturday.

Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Montana, has inherited the title of "Oldest Living Man in the World," with the passing of Henry Allingham on Saturday.

Breuning was born Sept. 21, 1896. He learned to read by kerosene lantern, remembers his grandfather telling him about fighting in the U.S. Civil War, and cast his first presidential ballot for Woodrow Wilson.

Guinness World Records said on its Web site over the weekend that Breuning is the likely heir to the title and that it would formally announce him as such as soon as its officials verify the record.

CBS Affiliate KRTV reports that Breuning isn't too excited and takes the news in stride.

He told KRTV that he simply feels fortunate to open his eyes and face every new day.

When informed of the news on Sunday, Breuning noted, "Sure, I like the title. It's OK. I don't get excited about it."

Born in Melrose, Minn., Breuning came to Great Falls in 1918, with the expansion of the railroad. He worked for the railroad for over 50 years. He is now a resident of the Rainbow Retirement Home in Great Falls.

According to KRTV, Breuning takes one aspirin each day, eats two meals a day, and strolls the halls of the Rainbow Retirement Center every morning, always wearing a suit and tie. His mind is extremely sharp, and he remembers his grandfather talking about the Civil War when Walter was only three years old.

"If you're in good health, you've got everything there is," he told the Great Falls Tribune.

His family was less fortunate: Breuning's father, a civil engineer, died at 50, and his mother, a housewife, at 46. Two brothers and two sisters died in their 70s, he said.

Breuning's advice for living to a ripe old age? Stay active in body and mind, don't eat too much and be good to people.

"Keep your mind busy and your body busy at all times," he said. "You'll find out. I got told years ago … keep your mind going or it just goes right down the chute."

Breuning takes his celebrity over longevity in stride: "People think that I'm crazy because I don't jump up and down," he said. "What good does that do?"

A private person, Bruening was asked about interest from the media about his notoriety. "No problem handling it, any more than it was (with) the guy from New York, same thing … they're just another person."

The "guy from New York" was CBS News' Steve Hartman, who interviewed Walter in April:

For more info:

  • An Interview and Video on the KRTV Web Site
  • View CBS News In