GARNET VALLEY, Pa. — A Pennsylvania couple who took home more than $10 million in Delaware's first Hot Lotto jackpot eight years ago traded in their mobile home for a four-bedroom house but say their good fortune hasn't changed them.
In August 2009, Robert Crowther already had retired from the Chrysler Assembly Plant in Newark, Delaware, where he had worked for more than 30 years. Since the Crowthers opted to take the jackpot as a lump sum of $10,774,362 rather than as a deferred annuity, life has been "marvelous," he said.
"We pretty much do what we want when we want," Crowther said. "But really, I'm still the same old Bob I've always been."
He said his wife, Rose, is still the same old Rose, too, except she finally has the swimming pool that she always wanted. And she's in love with their 5,200-square-foot house; she never wants to leave.
Although Bob Crowther, now 75, and his wife, now 74, frequently played lotteries in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he said he didn't really expect to win. They already had had their fair share of luck.
Three or four weeks earlier, Rose Crowther had won $100,000 on a scratch-off game in Pennsylvania. In 1986, they won another $5,000 in Delaware.
Rose Crowther used some money she had won in another scratch-off to buy the big winning ticket.
"My wife came home from the store after trying to check it and thought we'd only won $16,000," Bob Crowther told Delaware Lottery officials in 2009.
"I took another look at it and was sure that we had all the numbers right, but I still didn't know how much it was worth because I didn't know if there had been any other winners in the drawing," he said then. "It was thrilling to hear that we'd hit for the whole jackpot! My first reaction was: 'No more bills.' I think my wife is still in a state of shock."
Their odds of winning were 1 in almost 11 million, according to (Wilmington, Delaware)News Journalarchives.
"This is a real life changer," Bob Crowther said at the time.
The Crowthers say they won't be among the lottery players who won and then lost it all. They prepared before claiming their prize.
The couple met with a lawyer and financial advisers at their bank and immediately drew up a will, splitting up their assets to keep them safe, Bob Crowther said. They also started a trust fund with about $4 million for their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
"I didn't know how to do it, which is why I had the bank do it," he said. "I would really, really suggest that anyone who wins large amounts of money have a good lawyer and a good financial adviser."
They also set aside a good amount of money for themselves and invested in a few stocks. After cashing in their winning ticket, they closed the tavern they owned near their home and retired for real.
In 2009, Bob Crowther told lottery officials that he and his wife were going to buy a house and use the rest of the money to take care of their family. They've done just that, he said Tuesday.
The Crowthers paid off their daughter's mortgage and remodeled her house, bought both their grandson and grandaughter houses and cars and lavished their three great-grandchildren with gifts.
They also go on trips during the summer. They've been to Universal Studios and Disney, as well as Jamaica and Turks and Caicos, an archipelago of coral islands southeast of the Bahamas.
Bob Crowther said no one really has pressured them for money though he has lent some to his brother and a nephew. He and his wife aren't really worried about spending all the money anymore either.
Eight years ago their accountant told them they eventually would reach the point where they wouldn't want to buy anything else.
"And he was right," Bob Crowther said.
The couple does purchase lottery tickets. Old habits die hard.
"My wife still plays," Crowther said. "She plays them all, every day. We've had small wins since then but nothing big."
The Hot Lotto game ended in October, 2017, and was replaced by the Lotto America multi-state game. The main reason for Hot Lotto's cancellation was the rigging of its computerized drawings by former MUSL employee Eddie Tipton, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for the crime.
Thanks to Leland B. for the tip.