Freeport resident and $1 million Pennsylvania Lottery winner Karen Coffman...

Freeport resident and $1 million Pennsylvania Lottery winner Karen Coffman celebrates her win holding a commemorative lottery check, Thursday, June 13, 2024, at the BP gas station in Freeport, Pa. Coffman’s husband expressed concern she might have financial difficulties after he died. Two weeks before he did in April, she netted $1 million with a scratch-off lottery ticket. Credit: AP/Joyce Hanz

FREEPORT, Pa. — In the weeks before his death, Karen Coffman's husband worried she might have money troubles after he was gone.

But two weeks before he died in April of complications from a brain tumor, the Pennsylvania woman bought a scratch-off state lottery ticket that netted her $1 million.

“When I told him about the prize, he thought I was lying to him,” Coffman, 61, said of Robert, her husband of 31 years. She believes there was a spiritual intervention that brought about her win.

“I do think he had something in the works, because he was worried. I hope he’s looking down on this,” an emotional Coffman said Thursday at a ceremony at which lottery officials presented her with a ceremonial check. It was staged at the gas station where she bought her winning ticket, which cost her $20.

“I don’t go out places. I work and go home. They know me here (at the station),” Coffman said.

The longtime resident of Freeport, near Pittsburgh, described herself as a consistent lottery player who favors scratch-off tickets. When she realized she had won a big prize, she initially stood inside the store in disbelief before a station employee verified her win. She then went home and was shaking by the time she told her husband.

Coffman, who took a lump sum payout, worked in the senior care industry before retiring last month. She said she plans to use some of her winnings to treat relatives to a deluxe Disney trip and eventually plans to move to Florida, saying “I don’t want winter no more. I hate the cold.”

She also plans to resume playing the lottery when things settle down.


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