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Couple wins $3M jackpot 27 years after wife's numbers last came up

Maine LotteryMaine Lottery: Couple wins $3M jackpot 27 years after wife's numbers last came up
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He's finally forgiven, because last time he forgot to buy tickets

MADAWASKA, Maine — In February 1986, Robert and Jeanne Gagnon had the winning Megabucks lottery numbers for the weekly drawing.

Not that it mattered.

"I had all the numbers," Jeanne Gagnon said Wednesday. "But my husband forgot to pick up a ticket that day."

"And I've been hearing about it ever since," her husband, Robert Gagnon, said, shaking his head.

Now it appears all is forgiven. Two weeks ago, the retired couple learned they held the winning numbers in the Feb. 19 Megabucks drawing worth $3 million.

On Wednesday, the local couple returned to Bob's Neighborhood Store, where they bought the winning lottery ticket, to talk about their newfound wealth and subsequent fame.

Jeanne Gagnon said she has been playing Megabucks since the state started offering it in 1985. In fact, she has her first ticket and the numbers drawn that week taped inside her special lottery wallet. She switches the numbers she plays each week based on a system she's developed.

"Every Wednesday night my son goes on his cellphone to find out the winning numbers," Jeanne Gagnon said. "Two weeks ago he gave me a piece of paper with the numbers and I said, 'Are you kidding? I think we have it.'"

The winning numbers were 2, 4, 11, 17, 18, 28.

Robert Gagnon had already retired for the evening and Jeanne said she really did not want to disturb him.

"My son told me to wake him up," Jeanne Gagnon said with a laugh.

The two were at Bob's Neighborhood Store bright and early the next morning to confirm their winning ticket.

"When I saw you pull in at 7:30, I knew you were the winners," store owner Pete Williams said to the Gagnons Wednesday.

For selling the winning ticket, the store receives $30,000.

After learning of their good fortune, the Gagnons said they had to wait a few days before going to Augusta to claim their prize.

"We wanted to go down that Thursday, but there were no hotel rooms because of the high school basketball tournament," Jeanne Gagnon said.

"I told her we could go and sleep in the truck," her husband said. "But she did not want that."

On Friday, the state was hit with a snow and ice storm, so it was not until Monday the couple finally made their way to the lottery office in Augusta.

"They took us from room to room," Jeanne Gagnon said. "Then we got to the person who asked us how we wanted to receive the money."

Lottery winners have the option of taking their winnings in a lump sum representing 50 percent of the overall prize or getting the total amount in annual installments over 30 years.

Before answering the official, Jeanne Gagnon said she whipped out her handheld computer and did some quick tax calculations.

"I don't think [the lottery official] was expecting that," she said.

In the end, the Gagnons determined they would be better off with annual $70,000 payments, for which they are establishing a family estate.

"If we had taken the lump sum we would have lost $700,000 right off to taxes," Jeanne Gagnon said. "I wasn't having that."

Robert Gagnon is a retired millworker and the two have one son who is disabled and lives at home with them.

The money, they said, will help ensure he is always taken care of.

As for other plans, the Gagnons are considering a new garage and maybe a tractor-operated snowblower to replace the smaller, hand-operated machine Robert Gagnon now uses to clear the driveway.

Beyond that, Jeanne Gagnon said, nothing much will change.

"I am still using my newspaper coupons," she said. "That will never stop."

Nor will her near constant knitting projects.

"I can't stop knitting," Jeanne Gagnon said. "I have too much yarn at the house, a lot of yarn."

Her husband just smiled and nodded.

"A lot, a lot of yarn," he said.

As the impact of winning the Megabucks begins to sink in, the Gagnons said they are consulting with a trusted financial planner and accountant on how best to deal with the influx of cash.

Not that they are lacking for suggestions for where to spend it.

"Have you met my mom? I'm her adopted son," one customer in the store joked.

"I am, too," Pete Williams shot back. "How are you doing, brother?"

Over the years, Jeanne Gagnon has come up with her own system for selecting numbers and said for the first several years of the lottery she tracked and analyzed every winning combination.

"I have my own little system," she said. "It's not collegiate, but it's a system."

They also purchase scratch tickets.

"She buys those to keep her husband busy," store co-owner Susan Williams said with a laugh. "Today she is getting the 'bingo' cards and that is going to take him time to play."

The Gagnons have been married 47 years and hold an upbeat outlook on life.

"You have to be positive," Jeanne Gagnon, a childhood polio survivor, said. "What else is there?"

Coming in to purchase his own tickets Wednesday, Ronald Cyr, who worked with Robert Gagnon at the Madawaska mill, was thrilled to learn of his friend's good luck.

"This couldn't have happened to a better person," Cyr said. "When you work all your life, you deserve a good break."

The Gagnons plan to continue playing Megabucks.

"I bought a ticket this morning," Jeanne Gagnon said. "I will keep buying them [at Bob's Neighborhood store], there is no need to go anywhere else."

It's a safe bet her husband is never going to forget picking one up ever again.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Thanks to truesee for the tip.

Bangor Daily News

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41 comments. Last comment 8 months ago by Drenick1.
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mypiemaster's avatar - peace
He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

United States
Member #141039
April 2, 2013
722 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 7, 2014, 9:25 am - IP Logged

WTG. Congrats!!!

Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

    Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

    United States
    Member #142504
    May 13, 2013
    619 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 7, 2014, 9:28 am - IP Logged

    This is a really cute story, but really weird that they opted for the annuity at their age.

    "I believe in luck. How else can you explain the success of those you dislike?" - Jean Cocteau

    "A gambler with a system must be, to a greater or lesser extent, insane." -  George Augustus Sala (1828-1895)

      RedStang's avatar - mustangshow zps61f7119e.jpg
      Dutchess NY
      United States
      Member #121966
      January 21, 2012
      2733 Posts
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      Posted: March 7, 2014, 9:47 am - IP Logged

      Great win and i bet she still plays.

        DDOH937's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg

        United States
        Member #149603
        December 4, 2013
        193 Posts
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        Posted: March 7, 2014, 9:47 am - IP Logged

        Big Congrats to the Gagnons. But not quite sure why they would opt for the annuity. With $3 million cash option after taxes, they'd net around $1.1 million or so. That could sit and generate  $50,000 + annually in interest. So both parents and son would benefit greatly as the principal could remain untouched, especially since they are retired. Hmmmm, happy for them but i think the annuity makes sense only if your winnings are $100 Million or above. Maybe i'm wrong but i think the math suggests that to be the case.

        Good for them though!!!

        "It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy." - George Lorimer

          psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

          United States
          Member #4877
          May 30, 2004
          4641 Posts
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          Posted: March 7, 2014, 10:29 am - IP Logged

          Big Congrats to the Gagnons. But not quite sure why they would opt for the annuity. With $3 million cash option after taxes, they'd net around $1.1 million or so. That could sit and generate  $50,000 + annually in interest. So both parents and son would benefit greatly as the principal could remain untouched, especially since they are retired. Hmmmm, happy for them but i think the annuity makes sense only if your winnings are $100 Million or above. Maybe i'm wrong but i think the math suggests that to be the case.

          Good for them though!!!

          I Agree!   Thumbs Up   YES>>>>>>BIG CONGRAT'$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to the Ganon'$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

          We must admit LUCK>>>>played her hand on these people. Bad LUCK the ole man forgot to play her number

          back in 1986. Good LUCK>played her hand in March 3, 2014. REALLY, Psyko thinks she took the annunity this

          time because, she trust it the best way they can keep money together for their disabled son. It appears that

          she is the DECISION maker therefore, they will live off $70,000 a year and no more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          when LUCK is on UR side, "what does it matter anyway"!!

                                   Party Dance Party

            MzDuffleBaglady's avatar - platinum 20rose.jpg
            Repeat State
            United States
            Member #81314
            October 16, 2009
            11286 Posts
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            Posted: March 7, 2014, 10:36 am - IP Logged

            Happy Spending!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            Analysis:  The examination and evaluation of the relevant information to select the best course of action from among various alternatives.Type

            “If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it”

             

              DDOH937's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg

              United States
              Member #149603
              December 4, 2013
              193 Posts
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              Posted: March 7, 2014, 10:57 am - IP Logged

              When its your time, its your time. Quick Picks, Birthdays, Randoms, Dreams, Cookies, One Ticket, 10 Tickets, 1000 Tickets. Doesnt matter one bit it seems. When its your time, you'll be in the right place at the right time facing the right store clerk at the appropriate second. You may let someone ahead of you, someone let you ahead, you may run out of gas and need to stop, feeling hungry and grabbing a bite, or simply a gut feeling when you decide to grab a ticket. Its seems that's all there really is to it. Manifest Destiny for winners maybe.

              One day. That's all i can hope. One day.

              "It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy." - George Lorimer

                maringoman's avatar - kobold
                Massachusetts
                United States
                Member #37433
                April 14, 2006
                2162 Posts
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                Posted: March 7, 2014, 10:59 am - IP Logged

                Like that JG Wentworth commercial "it's my money and I need it now!" That's my philosophy when it comes to the lottery payouts.
                Great story still.

                It's a futile effort.

                  DDOH937's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg

                  United States
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                  December 4, 2013
                  193 Posts
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                  Posted: March 7, 2014, 11:04 am - IP Logged

                  Like that JG Wentworth commercial "it's my money and I need it now!" That's my philosophy when it comes to the lottery payouts.
                  Great story still.

                  Completely agree. No way i'm waiting for 30 years of payment. So much can change in 10/20/30 years. Most of these lotteries are not even close to being 30 years old. Who knows what the next 30 years will be like. I'm with you on this one maringoman, its my money and i need it now!!! LOL!!!

                  I'll think, only think, just for and in the name of due diligence of annuitized options ONLY when winnings exceed $100 Million. Give it a better look over $400 Million. And devote some real thought to it when over $600 Million. Doesnt make sense to me otherwise.

                  Real Happy for them though. They seem like nice, quiet, simply folks with their priorties in order. BUT..."its my money and i need it NOW!!! hahahhaha!!!!

                    maringoman's avatar - kobold
                    Massachusetts
                    United States
                    Member #37433
                    April 14, 2006
                    2162 Posts
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                    Posted: March 7, 2014, 1:40 pm - IP Logged

                    Completely agree. No way i'm waiting for 30 years of payment. So much can change in 10/20/30 years. Most of these lotteries are not even close to being 30 years old. Who knows what the next 30 years will be like. I'm with you on this one maringoman, its my money and i need it now!!! LOL!!!

                    I'll think, only think, just for and in the name of due diligence of annuitized options ONLY when winnings exceed $100 Million. Give it a better look over $400 Million. And devote some real thought to it when over $600 Million. Doesnt make sense to me otherwise.

                    Real Happy for them though. They seem like nice, quiet, simply folks with their priorties in order. BUT..."its my money and i need it NOW!!! hahahhaha!!!!

                    The federal government is over $16T in debt. This will not end well. The politicians can easily propose a special tax on lottery prizes to help fund research on moon-bats lol and guess what? It would sail through the house without much opposition. Gambling is considered a dirty business anyways.
                    No no not with my money...I'd take that money in a heartbeat.

                    It's a futile effort.

                      Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
                      USA
                      United States
                      Member #152806
                      February 25, 2014
                      497 Posts
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                      Posted: March 7, 2014, 1:57 pm - IP Logged

                      Big Congrats to the Gagnons. But not quite sure why they would opt for the annuity. With $3 million cash option after taxes, they'd net around $1.1 million or so. That could sit and generate  $50,000 + annually in interest. So both parents and son would benefit greatly as the principal could remain untouched, especially since they are retired. Hmmmm, happy for them but i think the annuity makes sense only if your winnings are $100 Million or above. Maybe i'm wrong but i think the math suggests that to be the case.

                      Good for them though!!!

                      The cash option was actually $1.5 million and she was concerned about having to pay almost $700k in Federal and state taxes.

                      Interest on $900k would be lucky to hit $9k a year considering most banks pay less than 1%.

                        Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
                        USA
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                        February 25, 2014
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                        Posted: March 7, 2014, 2:01 pm - IP Logged

                        The federal government is over $16T in debt. This will not end well. The politicians can easily propose a special tax on lottery prizes to help fund research on moon-bats lol and guess what? It would sail through the house without much opposition. Gambling is considered a dirty business anyways.
                        No no not with my money...I'd take that money in a heartbeat.

                        I Agree! I wouldn't put it pass Congress to implement a "special tax" on lottery prizes. We are already well over $17 trillion in debt and likely to surpass $18 trillion later this year.

                        I would have taken the lump sum as I have no faith in what happens in 30 years.

                          DDOH937's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg

                          United States
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                          Posted: March 7, 2014, 2:18 pm - IP Logged

                          The cash option was actually $1.5 million and she was concerned about having to pay almost $700k in Federal and state taxes.

                          Interest on $900k would be lucky to hit $9k a year considering most banks pay less than 1%.

                          She would only have 25%+ state tax witholding for this year. That would leave them with $1Million +.  The remainder in taxes are due next April. With over $1 million in the bank, even the most conservative portfolio would yield over 5%. Especially with their age, disabled son ect,  they'd be tax benefits to capitalize on. Good for them either way, but there is no way on earth i'm leaving that much money on the table in the hands of a government/state run agency for 30 years.

                            sully16's avatar - sharan
                            Listens to the wind
                            Michigan
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                            October 28, 2009
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                            Posted: March 7, 2014, 2:21 pm - IP Logged

                            Congrats to the very patient couple.

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