Great Grandmother Wins Mega Millions Lottery

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

A great grandmother from the Upper Peninsula is now a multimillionaire.

Judy Juntunen traveled more than 10 hours to claim her Mega Millions prize from the February 5 drawing.

Juntunen was almost at a loss for words when the Michigan Lottery commissioner presented her with the big $19 million check.

"I have a big family," Juntunen said. "Four children, I have 16 grandchildren, and 22 great grand children. So, I have plans."

Right now the Atlantic Mine, Mich., native's plans only include buying a new car. Juntunen doesn't know what kind yet, but she said there's one requirement.

"Four wheel drive, because I live up in snow country," Juntunen said.

Buying a car will leave her with just under $9.8 million after taxes from the cash option. The retired postal worker and widow said she still can't believe it.

Juntunen found out the morning after the drawing when her granddaughter called, and after playing the lottery for 20 years, it didn't feel real.

"You make sure you have the ticket first, you go and you look for it, and then, you feel pretty good," Juntunen said.

For her family, it's like winning the lottery a second time, because Juntunen is now cancer free after being diagnosed a year ago. Juntunen's son, Tony, said when he got the phone call that she won, he was initially worried it was going to be bad news about his mom's condition.

"We've had our share of bad luck and bad news, and this was a true blessing," Judy's son Tony Jununten said. "I kinda walked around in a daze the rest of the day letting it all sink in."

He's also been playing the lottery for years, and thought he might have a shot at this Mega Millions himself. Now the Pepsi worker told his boss he might retire. Tony said his mom will help the community with the money, along with his kids and grandchildren.

"We've already put a bunch of kids through college already, and we're going to be paying off some college loans and stuff," Tony said.

While Juntunen couldn't be any prouder as a great grandmother, as a lottery winner, there's one thing she doesn't want to reveal. When asked if she would mind telling the media her age, she responded:

"I'd rather not."

Juntunen bought her ticket at Festival Foods in Houghton, Mich., where she shops regularly.

The store will get a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

She plans to stay living in the U.P. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic, be responsible, share your knowledge, and please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Comments may take up to 24 hours or longer to appear on the site.

See full commenting rules...
powered by Disqus
WILX 500 American Road Lansing, MI 48911 517-393-0110
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 193694921 -
Gray Television, Inc.