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August 1, 2011

Father and Son Team Up to Win $1.6 Million Lotto Prize

Story Photo audio icon A pact between a father and a son living in different states to purchase lottery tickets each week and split their winnings turned out to be a life changing agreement. Jack Sullivan of Wentzville and Craig Sullivan of Chandler, Ariz., are avid Powerball and Mega Millions players that occasionally play other games. The duo has been purchasing tickets since the Missouri Lottery began in 1986.

Their first brush with “lady luck” came in 1988, when Craig, 64, purchased a winning Arizona Lottery ticket, which won him and his father a $78,000 prize. The “big win” came after Jack, 84, made a spur-of-the-moment decision while grocery shopping at Schnucks Market, 1960 Wentzville Parkway in Wentzville, to try his luck on Missouri Lotto.
           
“The bill was $44.80, and I had a $50,” recalled Sullivan. “He (clerk) gave me back two dimes and a $5.”
           
As Jack walked towards the store exit holding grocery bags in each hand, he contemplated getting out his wallet. Rather than going through the effort of reaching in his back pocket for his billfold, he decided to use the $5 to purchase a Quick Pick Lotto ticket for the July 20 drawing. Looking back, Jack said he feels “pretty darn lucky” that he made that choice.
           
While reading the newspaper the morning after the drawing, Jack realized that he had won the $1.6 million jackpot. After matching five of the six numbers, he said to himself, “I wonder what would happen if I got the other number?”
           
He didn’t have to wonder for long, because after comparing the final number printed in the newspaper to his Lotto ticket, he learned that he had matched all six numbers – 4, 21, 22, 33, 35 and 37.
           
“I must’ve checked those numbers a dozen times, and I had them all!” he exclaimed.
           
The retired plant manager and father-of-four immediately called his eldest son, Craig.
          
“I forgot they were two hours behind us,” he explained with a chuckle. “So, 7 a.m. there is 5 a.m. his time.”
           
While Craig was still in a groggy state, Jack told him to “buy his ticket.” Unsure what his father meant, he replied, “What do you mean?”
           
In a flurry of excitement, Jack said, “Get up here!”
           
“He told me to slow down, and then I did,” said Jack, who added that after his son got the gist of what he was trying to say, he was on a plane and in Missouri that same evening.
           
Both Jack and Craig have plans for the prize money.
           
Aside from splitting the windfall with his son, Jack intends to “put the rest in my money market account.”
           
“I can’t really think of anything except a riding lawn mower,” added Jack, who also plans to take his wife of 65 years, Dolores, to dinner.
           
As for Craig, the father-of-three noted that he’s “very happy, because he’s going to take care of my kids.”
           
“The rest is going to go in my retirement account that my wife and I have in Arizona,” Craig said. “It sure makes life a lot better!”
           
Lotto winners have the option to receive their prize in 25 annual payments or as a one-time lump-sum payment. Sullivan selected the $800,000 cash option.
           
For selling the winning ticket, Schnucks Market received a bonus check for $16,000 – equal to 1 percent of the advertised jackpot.

Lotto is a twice-weekly Draw Game with jackpots that start at $1 million and grow until someone wins.

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