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The ultimate pick-me-up

Ginny Stevenson. - Courtesy of Washington Lottery
Ginny Stevenson.
— image credit: Courtesy of Washington Lottery

Bainbridge Island woman wins $2.6 million in July 2 Lotto drawing.

Two months after her husband, Stu, passed away, Ginny Stevenson swears he helped her find the original set of house keys that had been lost in the confusion of his last days.

She awoke bolt upright in bed one morning and said, “The keys are in the little side pocket of the purse in the bottom drawer of the dresser.”

Sure enough, they were.

She remembers jokingly wishing to Stu, “Maybe you could do something bigger next time?”

Stu did.

A year later, Bainbridge Island resident Ginny Stevenson hit the Lotto jackpot of $2.6 million in a July 2 drawing, a 1 in nearly 7 million chance.

Ginny bought the ticket one day to cheer herself up; since losing her husband, her dog had died, she faced health problems of her own, and her father suffered a massive heart attack just a few weeks earlier, leaving him comatose.

She went to check the numbers when she heard on TV that there had been a winner in Seattle. She knew she had won by the third matching number.

“There’s not one iota of doubt that this is (Stu’s) doing. His spirit is so here,” Stevenson said. “He was really outgoing and fun-loving, and when he was dying, he was really concerned about me.”

Ginny called her siblings in California – she is the eldest of eight and turning 60 in November – who were thrilled for her, and told her father, who was still comatose.

Upon regaining consciousness, her father grabbed the arm of Ginny’s brother Chuck Cantwell, rasping out, “Ginny, loan!” and has since started to recover.

Ginny chose to take the lottery payment in one lump sum of half the prize, less 25 percent federal withholding, for a check of $975,000.

After buying gifts for her close family, paying off the mortgage on her home and buying a “zippy” car, she looks forward to eventually retiring with her future secure.

She immediately dropped to part time at her job as recycling program coordinator for the City of Seattle, and said she looks forward to being able to enjoy trips with her retired girlfriends and visit her family, most of whom live in California.

“It has certainly brought me out of the doldrums,” she said.

The only previous Bainbridge Island winner was Eugene M. Kaponpon, who won $5 million in an Aug. 6, 1988 drawing.

According to Washington Lottery officials, 65 percent of winners in the last two years chose the lump sum payment over 25-year installments.

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