Everything that could go wrong seemed to be going wrong for Joan D. Hoffman over Labor Day weekend. First the stove went. Then the hot water tank.
So the Williamsville great-grandmother decided to try changing her luck by buying a Lotto Quick Pick ticket Aug. 30 in the Quality supermarket at Sheridan Drive and Delaware Road in the Town of Tonawanda.
Not until she saw the winning numbers the next day - 11, 15, 16, 25, 44 and 47 - did she discover she had won one of the largest Lotto jackpots in Western New York history: $33 million.
For a while, she was a millionaire without hot water. "Those cold showers Monday and Tuesday were pretty brutal," she laughed during a New York Lottery news conference Friday in Boulevard Mall.
Needless to say, Hoffman, 70, who opted for a lump sum payout of $16,188,072 before taxes, no longer has to worry about things breaking down. A new range and water heater are in place, and a refrigerator and dishwasher are on order.
Her first real indulgence, the retired Town of Amherst employee said, will be taking her family to New York City to watch her beloved Yankees. She has three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
"I want to see the Yankees in the playoffs," she said - a goal shared by a certain fellow millionaire with Buffalo ties who owns the Bronx Bombers.
To borrow a baseball metaphor, Sheridan and Delaware seems to be the hot corner for winning lottery tickets.
Alongside Hoffman during the news conference was John Lawandus of Kenmore, another grandparent who on July 22 won the lottery's "Win $2,000 a Week for Life" game. He bought the winning ticket in the Tops Market directly across Sheridan from the Quality where Hoffman bought hers.
When he realized he had won, the 76-year-old retired carpenter said, he slipped the ticket into his shirt pocket, walked to his car, rolled up the windows and shouted, "Whoopee!"
He will receive the prize, which guarantees him $2 million, in quarterly payments of $26,000 less taxes, for the rest of his life.
Lawandus, who has three children and six grandchildren, planned to celebrate by "buying supper for my family."
His long-term plan: "Try to stay healthy and enjoy (the money) so my children can enjoy it as well."
Lawandus and Hoffman are the third and fourth area residents to become lottery millionaires in recent months. In April, Lee Steinberg of Amherst won a $27.5 million Lotto jackpot, and in June, Kristy McCollum of Lockport claimed a $3 million Lotto prize.
RONALD J. COLLERAN/Buffalo News
Joan D. Hoffman on Friday with the ceremonial check that shows the Lotto winner is $16 million richer.