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A little more than an hour northwest of our studios in St. Paul, Minnesota is the small town of Melrose. And, on September 21, 1896, in that rural farming village just off of what is now known as Interstate 94 was born Walter Breuning, “the world’s oldest man” as officially declared by the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records. He died on Thursday in Great Falls, Montana at the age of 114.

Breuning started working for the Great Northern Railway in 1913 and retired when he was 66. The railroad man, whose life spanned three centuries, leaves some sage advice to the rest of us:

“Tell the truth from the go” (it works out better and doesn’t kill you).

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

Eat only two meals per day (breakfast and lunch).

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

Pay cash for everything (you’ll spend more if you charge).

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

Embrace change (even the computer).

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

Keep the body busy (even strolling the halls with your walker).

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

And be kind to others:

“Everybody learns from life what’s going on. And if they pay attention to everything that people do, especially helping people, that’s one big thing. A lot of people think they’re born for themselves; I don’t think that. I believe that we’re here to help other people all the way through.”

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

Oh, and one other important piece of advice, don’t fear death:

“So many people are afraid to die, and there’s no use being afraid. You’re born to die — everybody. Eventually that’s what happens, and maybe it’s good, maybe bad. It depends on what you did during your life. If you take care of your life, God will take care of you. Amen.”

Walter Breuning, the "World's Oldest Man"

All photos by John Moore/Getty Images


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10 Comments

God bless and keep you, sir. <3

Very sweet. :-)

He was a remarkable man ! RIP Walter !

What a lovely man he must have been!

That's they way we are grown here in MN.

Long life is promised in the Word of God, at least to 70 and up. Most people after the flood averaged about 120 so here we go with a sound mind and good sound body, spirit and soul with the Lord

And those good old Nordic genes don't hurt either.

Beautifully put and oh so true!

very inspirational death is imminent, so why to fear it is like changing mask, soul never die. 
fading from life to another.

apples