The Show-Me State might not have boasted the largest Powerball winner in history, but that doesn’t mean two Missourians didn’t still win life-changing prizes from the $590.5 million record-setting jackpot on May 18. Fifty-seven-year-old Mary Jane Hart of Doniphan was one of the lucky winners to match all five white-ball numbers, earning her a second-tier prize of $1 million. Hart used Quick Pick to select the winning combination: 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52.
“I didn’t believe it,” a stunned Hart revealed, referring to the moment she scanned her winning ticket that she bought at Hartland Pit Stop, Route 3, in Doniphan. “I thought that I’d won $1,000 or $10,000.”
She confessed that she found the news so hard to believe that she even went to two different locations to receive confirmation from store clerks. Finally, after getting a second opinion, she joked that she simply “took that thing (ticket), put it in my purse and ran out the door!”
“I think I actually needed a wheelchair or a cane,” she added with a laugh.
The rest of Hart’s day was filled with calls and visits from family and friends. She noted that her first call was to one of her three children, Nicki Howard, an elementary school teacher in Ripley County.
“I had heard that someone bought the winning ticket at Hartland,” said Howard. “My mom has played the Lottery since I can remember. I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. I have to let mom know to check her tickets.’”
Although she thought it could be possible that her mom bought the winning ticket in question, she admitted that she “did not believe her at all” when her mom called her with the news.
“I had to actually pull up the Lottery numbers on the Internet and have her read off the numbers to me before I even believed her,” Howard recalled.
Hart said the windfall will allow her to pay off all of her debt and take a much-desired dream vacation to Hawaii.
“That’s where I’ve always wanted to go,” Hart added.
The pharmacy technician at Hometown Pharmacy in Doniphan said she’s “going to keep working,” but the prize “will make things a lot easier.”
“I’ve never had any money like this – ever!” she exclaimed.
A player from St. Louis also purchased a winning ticket matching all five white-ball numbers. The winning jackpot ticket was sold at a supermarket in Florida.
The previous Powerball jackpot record was $587.6 million, which was split by two ticketholders – one in Arizona and one in Missouri – in November 2012.
Powerball, a $2 game with jackpots starting at $40 million that grow until someone wins, is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Total sales from the recent Powerball jackpot run, which ran March 30 – May 18, were more than $26.3 million and will result in approximately $10.2 million in proceeds for public education in Missouri.