Powerball winners to claim $254 million


CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (AP) – A retired electrician and World War II veteran is the winner of the largest lottery jackpot ever sold in Missouri – worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

Jim Wilson II’s, 84, and his wife, Shirley, say they will share the money with three sons. One of those sons, Terry Wilson, who said he hasn’t had a vacation in 30 years, likely will be headed to Australia for some rest and recreation.

The Wilsons – Jim, Shirley; and their three sons, all of St. Louis – have been buying family Powerball tickets for years with the understanding that they’d share any winnings, the Missouri Lottery said.

Jim Wilson came forward Monday to claim the winning prize from last Wednesday’s drawing, said Missouri lottery spokeswoman Susan Goedde. The family was introduced at an afternoon news conference in Chesterfield.

Jim Wilson bought the winning ticket just one hour before the close of Powerball sales.

When the Wilsons learned they had won, they got professional financial advice before claiming the prize.

The money comes after a hard year for two of the Wilson sons, who lost their jobs.

Terry Wilson, 53, was forced to retire from a company where he had worked 32 years. His brother, Bill Wilson, 54, lost his job when the company he worked for closed. He is, however, working a new job for an area school district. A third brother, Jim Wilson III, is 59.

Shirley Wilson, 79, is a homemaker.

The lone winning ticket – 9-19-29-42-53 and a Powerball number of 17 – was purchased at a Dierbergs grocery store in south St. Louis County. Dierbergs will get $50,000 for selling the ticket.

Jim Wison has the option of receiving the $254 million in 30 payments over 29 years, or accepting a lump-sum payment worth $120 million before taxes.

It’s the largest prize in the Missouri Lottery’s 21-year history and the seventh-largest Powerball jackpot ever.

Powerball winners in Missouri have 180 days from the drawing to claim their prize.

On the Net:

Powerball: http://www.powerball.com.

Dierbergs: www.dierbergs.com.

AP-ES-01-29-07 1603EST