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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
Words of Wisdom Upon the Death of the World’s Oldest Man
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
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).

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

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

Embrace change (even the computer).

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

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."


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."


All photos by John Moore/Getty Images

Words of Wisdom Upon the Death of the World’s Oldest Man

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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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