Lotto gives Pa. man $11.7 million birthday present Grandfather turning 65 beats the odds

May 21, 1991|By Deborah I. Greene | Deborah I. Greene,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

Forget the technicolored ties, plaid shirts and other gifts a man may receive on his birthday, particularly when, after 65 years, he has just about everything he needs.

What more could Lester C. Martin want now that he has won -- only days before his 65th birthday -- an $11.7 million Maryland Lotto jackpot?

"Not a thing," Mr. Martin said yesterday with a smile of contentment, as he and his family presented the sole winning ticket from the Saturday drawing. The happy ceremony occurred at the State Lottery Agency headquarters at Reisterstown Road Plaza.

Mr. Martin beat odds of 6.9 million to one with the randomly selected numbers: 03-09-16-22-28-44. The winning ticket was one of five the Fairfield, Pa., resident purchased Saturday afternoon at a Washington County grocery store four miles from his home.

Other winners in the drawing include 200 ticket holders who each won $727 for matching five of the six numbers and 7,882 people who matched four numbers and will receive $31.

Mr. Martin, a man of modest means, plans to invest most of his winnings and will celebrate his 65th birthday today the same way that he has for years: working all day at a steel-plumbing plant and going home to his wife once the shift ends.

"It's not going to change our lifestyle an awful lot. We're just sort ofdown-to-earth people," he said.

He added that there were no plans to move from the bungalow he built for his wife, Betty, when they married 39 years ago.

Money may not change Mr. Martin's character, but it's bound to affect lives around him. His $25,000 annual income is expected to increase this year by $596,905 before taxes. He will then receive installments of $589,000 for 19 years.

Betty Martin wants a big, silver Chrysler Fifth Avenue. One son, Carroll, 42, is planning to renovate his house, and another son, David, 39, is already looking for a new home. And of course, there are the four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, whom the Martinsplan to spoil to their heart's content.

Yesterday, the Martins smiled warmly but seemed a bit uneasy as they stood bathed in the artificial light of a television camera while strangers pried into their lives.

Outside, peering through the Lottery Agency window on the second floor of the mall, Tina Potter and her friend watched longingly as the Martins posed with a cardboard replica of their $11 million check. "Geeezzz, what I couldn't do with all that money," Ms. Potter whispered.

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