Sunday morning started out quietly for Roger and Shirley Edwards. Shirley cooked breakfast and Roger checked lottery numbers in the morning paper.
That’s when things got interesting.
“He read the numbers and I looked at his face and he turned a pasty white and shook, and that gave it away - I knew,” said Shirley. “I told him to stay calm. I didn’t have time to bury him yet because I didn’t want to spend all this money by myself.”
The couple, who have lived in northwest Spokane for 22 years, claimed a $12 million Lotto jackpot Monday.
It’s the largest jackpot ever won in Spokane and the sixth-largest lottery prize ever given out in Washington.
The Edwardses will receive $432,000, after taxes, annually for 20 years. The odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 7 million, said Les Denison of the Washington State Lottery Commission.
“It’s awesome,” said Roger, who bought the lucky ticket last Thursday at the Rosauers store in the Five Mile Shopping Center. He bought $5 worth of Lotto numbers, choosing some combinations him self and allowing the computer to generate the rest. The computer picked the winning numbers: 16-22-24-26-32-42.
Marlene Erickson, who works in the regional lottery office, said Roger was “having a hard time breathing, and talking in short breaths” when he and Shirley showed up at 9:30 a.m. Monday to claim their winnings at the lottery office in the Spokane Valley. Shirley and Roger hope to enter the millionaire’s circle with grace.
They don’t plan on taking exotic cruises or buying a new house.
Instead, they want to pay off their children’s student loans and put money aside to finance their grandchildren’s college educations.
Shirley, 59, a homemaker, volunteers nine hours a week at the Children’s Ark, a home for low-income mothers and babies. She said she plans to continue to volunteer - and also to donate some of her winnings to the home.
The money will allow Roger, who would say only that he is 50-something, to retire from his job as a mechanic for URM Stores, a grocery distributor. However, the Spokane native said he plans to work at least a few more weeks to give his employer time to hire a replacement.
The couple, who married in 1975, have two children and two grandchildren.
For Shirley, an Arkansas native, winning a Lotto jackpot means no more limits on long-distance telephone calls to her family.
“We do like to talk in the South. You’ve got to have the money to accommodate these slow-speaking Southerners,” she said. “Now I can make all the long-distance phone calls I want.”
Shirley said she has always been lucky. “Usually at any party or picnic I go to, I win a door prize. I do win things, but nothing like this.”
With a $432,000 check in hand, Roger and Shirley don’t plan on playing the lottery anymore.
“Why bother? The deed’s done,” Shirley said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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