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$45M N.Y. Lotto winner bought ticket on impulse

Aug 2, 2006, 9:16 am

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New York Lottery

After she was hit with a hot flash during a late June trip to Brooklyn, 49-year-old Mary Ann Hrywnak ducked into David's Check Cashing to beat the heat and buy a Quick Pick Lotto ticket.

It turned out to be a multimillion-dollar decision.

Hrywnak's Quick Pick turned out to be a $45 million winner, the New York Lottery announced Tuesday. It's the largest lottery purse ever won by a person from Broome County.

The night of the drawing, the Johnson City woman recognized she had a few of the winning numbers, but she didn't think anything of it until she was in a local restaurant with her business partner and didn't have any cash for lunch.

"I had the lottery ticket sticking out of my purse and remembered I had a few numbers," Hrywnak said. "So I went to go cash it to pay for lunch, but the guy told me he couldn't give me the money because I won too much.

"I was stunned. I just stood there and looked at the man and asked him how much," she said Tuesday. "When he told me, I was like, wow ... and now, a dollar and a hot flash later, here I am."

With her two children, Julie and Joshua, and husband John there to witness it, Hrywnak accepted a check Tuesday morning from the state Lottery. She received her winnings in a lump sum totaling $22,156,834, before taxes.

The winning numbers on her June 28 Lotto ticket were 20-27-29-50-53-59 with a bonus number of 26.

Of the county's 14 millionaire lottery winners since 1997, the person who came the closest to winning as much money as Hrywnak was William Yonkoski, who won $25 million in 1998.

Hrywnak said she plans to start the Sonya Sinicki Cancer Foundation with a large portion of the money. Sinicki, who recently died of cancer, was John's cousin and very close to the family.

"I miss her," Hrywnak said. "This will let her live on."

She also plans to go on vacation with her family, get a new kitchen for her Johnson City home, and help some people who supported her and her partner in their Johnson City business, Heavenly Ham.

Although the future of Heavenly Ham is undecided, Hrywnak said people will still see her face at the store. John also will continue to work for New York State Electric & Gas Corp.

"Like they say," John said, "a dollar and a dream."

Holding on to the big check, from left, son Josh, daughter Julie and husband John watch as Mary Ann Hrywnak of Johnson City tells her story of buying the winning lottery ticket during the announcement Tuesday at Traditions at the Glen.

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