A 94-year-old great-great-grandmother from Everett, Massachusetts is thinking about fixing her leaky roof and maybe taking a cruise to someplace warm and sunny now that she’s won $5.6 million in the state lottery, her great-granddaughter, Cynthia Smith, said yesterday.
Louise Outing, who has lived in the same house since she was a child and became the matriarch of a family that includes seven grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren, won the windfall after purchasing a Megabucks ticket at the nearby Fine Mart convenience store in Everett, Smith said.
The numbers were announced Sept. 4, and the odds were 1 in about 5.2 million, lottery officials said.
On Friday, Outing walked into state lottery offices in Braintree and claimed a check worth approximately $198,000 — the first of 20 years’ worth of payments, after taxes, she will collect. The staggeringly good fortune came her way after years of playing the lottery every day except Sunday, which she considers too holy for numbers games.
”It’s really unbelievable right now — it hasn’t really sunk in that she actually won,” said Smith, 34, who answered Outing’s phone yesterday. Outing, she said, was on a shopping trip, not to buy diamonds or a new car, but to pick up groceries, as she does every Saturday.
”We’re still waiting for someone to say ‘Smile, you’re on ‘Candid Camera,’ ” Smith said. The phone has been ringing off the hook, she said, with family and friends calling to confirm that it was indeed Outing’s diminutive figure and restrained smile they saw on the television news.
Before she retired decades ago, Smith said, Outing worked at Anthony’s Pier 4, a waterfront seafood restaurant popular for political fund-raisers and functions. When she learned of her winnings by watching television, her thoughts first turned to simple purchases, Smith said.
”Her house is leaking, and she needed it fixed,” Smith said. She is also contemplating a cruise, and most of all, providing for the well-being of her extended family in the later years of her life.
”Finally, she said, everybody can be set straight and she can go knowing that everybody can finally be set,” Smith said. ”She’s more relieved.”
If Outing doesn’t live to collect all her winnings, the remainder will go to her beneficiaries, lottery officials said.
”We’re thrilled for her,” said Joseph C. Sullivan, executive director of the state PKV lottery, who met Outing in the lottery office.
”She was, obviously, in terms of expressing her emotions, low-key. But over a period of time, it will sink in. We are equally happy someone who is like Louise was able to win a jackpot that size.”
Smith said she was planning to take Outing to dinner, in honor of her great-grandmother’s big win. ”She has outlived everybody. She has two first cousins left from her generation and everybody else is grands and great-grands,” Smith said. ”She’s the matriarch.”