January 29, 2007
St. Louis Family To Share Missouri's Largest Lottery Jackpot
Stopping at Dierbergs turned out to be the most lucrative thing a St. Louis man has ever done when he bought a $5 Powerball ticket that contained the six winning numbers for Missouri’s largest jackpot ever - $254 million. James "Jim" Wilson II, 84, of St. Louis purchased the winning ticket at Dierbergs-Southroads, 12420 Tesson Ferry Road in St. Louis, on Jan. 24. Just one hour before the close of Powerball sales, Wilson asked the clerk for a $5 Powerball ticket. The clerk mentioned that the store had some $5 Powerball "Quick Pick" tickets that they had printed out earlier due to the rush from the high jackpot; Wilson said that would be fine and took the next ticket. One of the five plays on that ticket ended up matching the six numbers drawn: 9, 19, 29, 42, 53 and the Powerball was 17.
Jim Wilson, his wife, Shirley, 79, and their three grown sons - James "Jim" Wilson III, 59, William "Bill" Wilson, 54, and Terril "Terry" Wilson, 53, all of St. Louis - have been buying "family" Powerball tickets for years with an agreement to share the winnings.
"We all buy family Powerball tickets, but Mom and Dad only buy tickets when the jackpot gets high," said Terry Wilson. "I think this is the first one he’s bought in the last six months. This ticket only cost us $1 each, which we were happy to pay."
Terry said he and his brothers found out about the life-changing news on Thursday, when their mom called each of the boys and said she wanted them to come to their house at 5 p.m.
"I was concerned it was about my father," Terry said. "But she told me it was good news.
"We all showed up around the same time, and we were talking about what it was, and I think it was my brother, Jim, who said, ’Wouldn’t it be something if we won the Lottery?’"
Once their parents told them the good news about the family’s winning ticket, it took a while for it to sink in. The next move they made was finding professional advice. The Wilsons called a niece who used to work for the legal office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The niece suggested they contact former IRS attorney, Tom Pliske, who is now a partner in the law firm of Gasaway, Stientjes LLC in Creve Coeur. Pliske is also a certified public accountant (CPA).
"The Wilson family was very wise in seeking professional advice from the very beginning since there are so many tax, investment and safety issues to consider. Because of the large prize amount involved, each decision the family made is truly worth millions to them in both the short and long run," said Pliske.
According to Terry Wilson, the win came after a hard year for two of the brothers, who both lost their jobs. In March, Terry Wilson was forced to retire from the company where he worked for the past 32 years. About the same time, the company Bill Wilson worked for went under. Bill found a new job working in heating and air conditioning for a St. Louis school district.
The elder James "Jim" Wilson is a retired electrician and World War II veteran. He had been a building electrician for the federal government and for St. Louis County. Shirley Wilson was a homemaker.
Terry said he is not sure what each family member plans to do with their money at this point.
"My children will be taken care of," said Terry. "I haven’t been on a vacation in 30 years or so. I’ve kind of always wanted to go to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef.
"None of it has really settled in," he explained.
In addition to being the largest prize ever won in the Missouri Lottery’s 21-year history, it is the seventh-largest Powerball jackpot ever awarded in the nation and the 10th largest prize in the world won with a single ticket.
In addition to the group’s win, Dierberg’s will receive a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
The Missouri Lottery is ranked second among the 31 Powerball member lotteries in terms of the number of jackpot winners with 25. Powerball jackpots won in Missouri total more than $1.2 billion.
To date, there have been 225 jackpots worth $1 million sold by the Missouri Lottery since it began in 1986.