Archive for Tuesday, January 30, 2007

World War II veteran wins Powerball prize

January 30, 2007

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— Jim Wilson II, 84, and his wife, Shirley, 79, on Monday claimed the winning prize from Wednesday's Powerball drawing.

"I was absolutely astonished," said Jim Wilson, a retired electrician who served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division in Africa and Europe. "I couldn't believe it, and still don't."

Wilson has the option of receiving $254 million in 30 payments over 29 years, or accepting a lump-sum payment worth $120 million before taxes.

The couple said they will share the money with their sons. The St. Louis family has been buying family Powerball tickets for years with the understanding that they'd share any winnings, the Missouri Lottery said.

Two sons - Bill, 53, and Jim III, 59 - lost their jobs in the past year, though Bill Wilson has found a new one. Another son, Terry, 53, said he hasn't had a vacation in 30 years and will probably go to Australia.

The Wilsons' prize is the 10th-largest single-ticket lottery prize in world history, with all 10 coming from the United States, Missouri Lottery officials said. The largest was a $365 million prize won by eight Nebraska meatpacking plant workers in February 2006.

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