Bittersweet win in Pennsylvania; woman wins $1 million 2 weeks before husband's death

Sometimes, things happen for the right reason.

Bittersweet win in Pennsylvania; woman wins $1 million 2 weeks before husband's death
Karen Coffman receiving her $1 million check. Photograph credit to the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Winning $1 million should be an exciting time, but this Pennsylvania Lottery player said the win has been “bittersweet.”

Sad news after a big win

The lucky winner, 61-year-old Karen Coffman of Armstrong County, recently claimed her $1 million prize, and she told Pennsylvania Lottery officials that winning the big prize was “bittersweet.”

Coffman said:

My husband had a brain tumor and died two weeks after I won. I kept telling him, “One of these days I'm going to hit the million!” When I told him about this prize, he thought I was lying to him.

Coffman told WTAE:

I don't know if he understood that, because it was coming towards the end and we knew it was coming.

She couldn't believe it either

Coffman couldn't believe her eyes either when she scratched the winning ticket, a $20 scratch-off game called $1,000,000 Game. She purchased the ticket at BP gas station (Radhe Oil Corporation), located at 222 Buffalo St. in Freeport, which is the same location where she was presented with her commemorative check from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

She told Lottery officials she was in disbelief after scanning the ticket at the store and realized she had won $1 million.

Coffman said:

I thought, “This can't be right!” The guy working there said, “What's wrong?” I said, “Look!” He starts counting the zeroes and we then just started jumping up and down, hugging. When I got home, I was shaking.

BP is a lucky store for Coffman

Coffman recently retired, after working as a chef at a nursing home. She said after work she used to stop by the BP gas station every so often and buy a scratch-off ticket or two. This isn't her first time winning a bigger prize.

She said:

About 14 years ago, I won $65,000 on a Scratch-Off ticket that I purchased at the same location!

For selling the $1 million winner, the Lottery retailer will receive a $5,000 bonus from the state Lottery.

Now, on to warmer weather

Now that Coffman has the winnings in hand, she said she plans on investing part of the prize and is thinking about relocating to Florida to be closer to family and away from winter weather. She told Pennsylvania Lottery officials:

I'm so done with the snow!

Coffman, who was surrounded by her daughter and grandchildren when receiving the commemorative check, told WTAE that she is also planning on checking some items off her bucket list, like Disney World and deep-sea fishing.

She said:

(Fishing) was me and the husband's thing. Then, I got my grandson started on it, and he fishes, and I said, “let's go deep-sea fishing."

Official Lottery business

Secretary of Revenue Pat Browne was at the check presentation. He said, “We're thrilled to present Karen with a commemorative check for $1 million as we celebrate her winning this Scratch-Off prize. Her win is also a reminder that the Pennsylvanian Lottery funds a number of programs for older Pennsylvanians that support them and help them lead fulfilling lives.”

For the $1,000,000 Game instant ticket, the Pennsylvania Lottery started selling those tickets on December 27, 2022. The tickets are distributed at random, so Lottery officials and retailers do not know when winning tickets will be sold or where.

Enjoy playing the Pennsylvania Lottery, and please remember to play responsibly.


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