DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The first challenge Mary Lohse faced after discovering she had a $202 million Powerball ticket was convincing her husband they were rich.
The central Iowa woman said Thursday that when she reached her husband at a conference in Portland, Ore., he couldn’t be convinced.
“I called him and he didn’t believe me,” she said.
Mary Lohse sought help from her boss, but that didn’t work, either.
“I didn’t believe her boss and told her if she was telling the truth to head straight to our attorney’s office,” husband Brian Lohse said. “She texted me a couple of times to keep up the charade, I thought, to ask me directions (to the attorney’s office).”
Finally, after she called from the attorney’s office, he realized it was true. And how did he celebrate his wife’s stunning news?
“I bought new shoes,” said Lohse, a 43-year-old attorney
The couple from the Des Moines suburb of Bondurant claimed the prize Thursday at lottery headquarters, eight days after the Sept. 26 Powerball drawing. It was the only ticket to match all six numbers.
Mary Lohse, a 42-year-old medical assistant at a pediatric clinic, bought the ticket on the day of the drawing at a Bondurant convenience store, where she had stopped to get gas.
She said she noticed as she was leaving for work the next morning that she had at least three of the numbers. At work, she called the lottery telephone number and learned she’d matched all five numbers and the Powerball.
The couple, who have three children aged 8, 11 and 15, chose the cash payout option — $90.9 million after state and federal taxes, the highest single cash payout to an individual or couple in Iowa lottery history.
Brian Lohse said they’ve struggled with student loan debt throughout their lives and now “that’s gone.” They also plan to buy new cars.
“We started looking at housing choices — buy, build — we started that process. That will be the immediate things,” he said.
He said they’ve also set up a foundation that will help benefit their church, the school district that their children are in, cancer-fighting organizations and other charities.
Both are on leave from their jobs until they decide whether they’ll continue working.
“I did tell my boss he might want to look for a replacement,” Brian Lohse said.
Mary Lohse said she enjoys her job and isn’t ready to give it up, but will make a final decision later.
The jackpot was the second largest in Iowa and came only months after a group of 20 Quaker Oats employees in Cedar Rapids won the state’s biggest prize, a $241 million Powerball jackpot. The latest jackpot ranks 28th among U.S. lottery jackpots.
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