Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Mont., shown here at age 112, on Sunday, July 19, 2009.

Walter Breuning is 114 years old today – the oldest man in the world.

On this day, as he did last year when he also held the title, he is preparing a speech that he will deliver to friends, fans and residents of the Rainbow Retirement Community in downtown Great Falls, Mont., reports the Great Falls Tribune.

State Gov. Brian Schweitzer is set to attend the speech as well as the following cake and festivities, along with representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records, public television, and Masonic, Shrine and Scottish Rite groups.

While he is certainly a local celebrity, his fellow neighbors also hold a sincere admiration for him – for more than just living to an advanced age. Residents mention his dignified air, his preference for pinstriped suits and his modesty, considering his world fame.

Resident Ray Stingley, 87, told the Tribune that he admired the fact Breuning never used a cane or walker to help him move around until the last few years.

"I think he's a great man, to be honest with you," Stingley said.

Margie Arganbright, 80, said she thought having him live at the Rainbow was "wonderful".

"He's such a gentleman," Arganbright said.

Breuning was born in 1896, in the Minnesota town of Melrose but moved to Great Falls in 1918 to work for the Great Northern Railway, according to the Tribune.

He married a girl from Butte named Agnes, who died in 1957. The couple had no children.

His parents died young at 50 and 46 but his paternal grandparents lived into their 90s. One of his own siblings lived to be 100.

He told the Tribune that his greatest regret was being too old to serve his country. When World War I broke out, he was already in his 40s.

He may be an extremely old man but to many of his elderly friends and neighbors, he’s just a man.

"I didn't know he was a celebrity; he's just lived a long time," Ray Milversted, 92, told The Herald.


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