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Human Interest

Tragedy Befalls Powerball Lottery Winner Just Before She Comes Forward



More often than not, those that win a huge lottery tend to spend it all and wind up in very unpleasant circumstances. I’d call it human nature, but it is the stupid side of it. Many times tragedy ensues for those who win a lottery and sometimes it’s deadly. Mavis Wanczyk just won one of the biggest lotteries in American history. One day she entered the Powerball drawing and the next, she had won $758.7 million. Usually winners are offered a lump sum or a greater measured payout over a number of years. I would always recommend the lump sum. Then you can cut that by a third after taxes. This was an extreme stroke of luck for this woman. Her odds of winning were one in 292 million.

This was a woman in need of some good fortune. Ten months before she hit it big, her ex-husband was killed in a freak hit-and-run accident. William Wanczyk was sitting in a bus shelter waiting for a ride in November of 2016, when a pickup truck lost control and struck the shelter where he sat. He was only 55 years-old and he died at the scene. They had been divorced since 2012. He had worked as a firefighter for Northampton in Massachusetts for three years in the 1980s before an injury forced him to retire early, making him the youngest city employee in recent history to retire with a disability pension. They may have been divorced, but grief still strikes hard when you lose someone like this.

Mavis worked as a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Amhert for 32 years. That’s a long, hard ole time to serve on your feet. When she won the Powerball, she quit her job and took an early retirement. I don’t blame her in the least. “The first thing I want to do is just sit back and relax,” she said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “I want to just be me and be alone and … figure out what I want to do.”

Wanczyk chose the lump sum (smart girl) and she will receive in the neighborhood of $480 million. After taxes, she cleared about $336 million. She was the single winner in this jackpot, so it’s all hers. That makes Wanczyk the winner of the largest single lottery jackpot in United States history. Her winning ticket contained the numbers 6, 7, 16, 23, 26 and Powerball number 4. She was told that she had won by a co-worker. “I couldn’t drive anywhere. I couldn’t do anything,” she said. Her friend, the co-worker, followed her home to make sure she was all right. “I’m going to just hide in my bed,” she said of her planned celebration.

Bob Bolduc, as owner of the store who sold the winning ticket, will receive a $50,000 commission. Wow… nice. He says he plans to donate that money to a local charity that focuses on education for children. Even nicer.

I hope that Mavis handles her money won from the lottery well and lives nicely the rest of her life. She’s had enough sadness and enough hard work, now fate will smile on her and she can relax. She may find that retiring is not as fun as she thought… but then again, maybe it will be a whole new life for her.

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