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Massachusetts man wins $1M lottery prize

Jan 9, 2004, 5:24 am

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Massachusetts Lottery

Robert F. Brown Jr. doesn't know it yet, but he's got a free Boar's Head sandwich coming.

It may not sound like much, but it's all Marissa and Glen Varney can do to say thanks to Brown for buying a winning $1 million lottery ticket in their Wrentham delicatessen, the Sheldonville Store.

The Varneys, former chefs who live in Franklin, Mass., will get a $10,000 commission for selling Brown the winning ticket, said Amy Morris, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Lottery.

"When you tell people you own a store, everybody thinks you've got a ton of money, but it's not like that," said Marissa Varney. "We really need the money."

Brown, who lives in Cumberland, claimed a check for the first of 20 annual installments on his $1 million jackpot at the Braintree headquarters of the Massachusetts Lottery on Wednesday, said Morris.

Minus state and federal income taxes, Brown took home $35,000 in cash.

Brown won in the instant game "$640,000,000 Jubilee," she said. The winnings are doled out only as an annuity, so Brown did not have the option of claiming the jackpot in a lump sum. He was the 23rd million-dollar winner since the game was introduced in the fall.

Brown, who has an unpublished telephone number, could not be reached for comment. But his parents said he works as a printer in a shop owned by someone else.

Neither the lottery nor his parents would say much else, except that Brown is married and his wife's name is Karen.

The Varneys say Brown's name isn't familiar, but they would probably recognize him if they saw his face.

They're just glad he won and hopes he comes back in the store so they can congratulate him with a fat victory sandwich.

News that they had sold Brown the big winner came as a complete surprise to the Varneys.

"Is this a joke?" a surprised Marissa Varney said when she learned of her good luck. "How come nobody told us about it?"

Morris said Brown was one of two people who claimed $1 million jackpots in the $640,000,000 Jubilee game this week. The other was David T. Bacon of Medford, who purchased the ticket at Omni Foods in Newton.

The game will dventually reward 50 players with $1 million prizes and 10 others with $4 million jackpots, she said.

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