January 30, 2007 / 1:31 PM / 11 years ago

84-year-old man wins $254 million lottery

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An 84-year-old retired electrician from Missouri has won $254 million in the Powerball lottery, lottery officials announced on Monday.

James Wilson, a World War Two veteran from St. Louis, bought the winning ticket for the multi-state lottery about an hour before the drawing on January 24, officials said in a statement in Missouri.

Wilson asked for a $5 ticket at a store shortly before the drawing, and the clerk mentioned that the shop had some $5 Powerball “Quick Pick” tickets with computer-selected numbers already printed, the statement said.

Wilson agreed and took the next ticket, which turned out to be the single winner.

The state lottery said it was the 10th biggest lottery jackpot in the world ever won on a single ticket.

Wilson and his wife, Shirley, 79, have three grown sons, James, 59, William, 54, and Terril, 53, all of St. Louis, and the family has been buying lottery tickets for years with an agreement to share the winnings, the announcement said.

“We all buy family Powerball tickets, but mom and dad only buy tickets when the jackpot gets high,” said Terril 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.”

Officials said the family had hired a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service lawyer to help it handle the winnings.

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