Jul 9, 2004, 11:08 am
Updated July 09, 2004, 11:21pm
The winner of the $294 million Mega Millions jackpot, the largest in Massachusetts lottery history, is a 68-year-old cleaning woman.
Geraldine Williams cleaned homes after retiring as a custodian at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, The Sun of Lowell reported Friday.
"She was a wonderful person," Mary Recko, a worker in the physical plant department at UMass-Lowell, told The Associated Press on Friday. "Everybody liked her. All of us here are so happy that it was her who won."
Friends and family described Williams as a down-to-earth woman who fully intended to keep an appointment to clean a client's home until she was told she had to meet with financial advisers in Boston.
Williams, a resident of the city's Highland section, is a mother of three and a grandmother of eight who moved to the city more than 40 years ago.
Williams was to receive a ceremonial check for $294 million Friday at the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission offices.
The $294 million is the highest Mega Millions prize in the game's history, exceeding the previous high of $239 million in February. It is the second-largest single ticket winner ever sold in North America.
Editor Notes: The AP story is incorrect. This was the third-highest single-ticket jackpot winner in North America. The second-largest was a single ticket sold in Indiana worth $297.5 million for the July 29, 1998 Powerball drawing.
The winning ticket was sold at Powers Wine Co. in Lowell. It will pay $11 million a year for 26 years before taxes or a lump sum of $168 million before taxes.
Other states participating in the Mega Millions game are Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
AP Photo/Gail Oskin
Geraldine Williams, right, smiles after being presented with a check for $294 million by Treasurer and Receiver General Timothy P. Cahill, left, at the Massachusetts State Lottery headquarters in Braintree, Mass., Friday, July 9, 2004. Williams, who was introduced at the news conference at state lottery headquarters Friday, said she's still stunned by her luck, a week after the numbers were drawn.
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