State Retiree Wins Mega Millions

SEPTEMBER 2004
- Biggest Jackpot In State History - Association member, Geraldine Williams will never again have to worry
about pension COLAs, group health insurance co-payments or saving
enough money to replace her well-used car. She also won't have to clean
homes again to supplement her $1,200 monthly pension check.

In
fact, Lowell's Geraldine Williams will never have to worry about money
again, except how to spend it. Geraldine's life changed forever when
one of five quick pick Mega Millions tickets she purchased on July 2
turned out to be worth $294 million.

This
was the largest jackpot ever in the history of the Massachusetts
Lottery and the second largest ever won by a single person nationwide.

Like most jackpot winners, Williams decided to take a lump sum payment instead of annual payments over a period of time.

Her
lump sum payment of $168 million was reduced to $117.6 million after
federal and state taxes. Had she chose annual payments she would have
received $11.3 million yearly for 26 years.

Jay
Patel, owner of Powers Wine, a Lowell package store where Williams
bought the winning ticket, received $50,000 as the selling agent. Patel
knew that Williams had won but kept the secret for a week until
Williams and her two attorneys were prepared to make the announcement
at Lottery Headquarters on July 9.

Colleagues
and friends said Williams had worked hard all her life. She worked as a
janitor at UMass Lowell where she cleaned halls and offices, and
cleaned houses on the side after she came home.

In
March 2002, at age 65, she decided to accept the five-year early
retirement bonus being offered by the state at that time. However, she
continued to clean houses to supplement her pension.

"Everyone
who knows Gerry is ecstatic about this," said Patricia McCafferty, a
friend who works in communications and marketing at UMass Lowell. "My
aunt, Mary Rourke, worked with her at the school as a housekeeper. Mary
is now housebound in her 80s and uses a walker. Gerry has been her
savior, driving my aunt to medical appointments and places she could
never reach on her own. Gerry is like that with everyone who needs a
hand. She has a heart of gold."

The
divorced mother of three and grandmother of eight said she planned to
spend the money on her family, golf lessons and travel. She didn't say
where she wanted to travel, but it's a good bet she won't be staying at
Motel 6.

Gerry's former husband, Jim
Williams, is a retired Lowell police officer who lives in Florida. Now
remarried, he said he wished his ex-wife well and was happy for his
children and grandchildren who will be likely "set for life."

Association
President Ralph White said it was great to see a hard working,
low-income member like Gerry win the Mega Millions. "If I had a wish,
though, it would be for one hundred needy members to have the same
winning number and share in the jackpot."

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