Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Elyria 60°


Oberlin couple wins $1 million lottery prize


OBERLIN — If Kathy Bunnell had found the crabgrass killer she wanted at a local drugstore this week, she and her husband might have missed a windfall.

The Bunnells, of Oberlin, are $1 million winners in the Ohio Lottery’s 40th anniversary Millions instant game after Kathy Bunnell purchased a ticket this week at the Discount Drug Mart just north of town.

Bunnell, 58, said her husband buys lottery tickets, mostly Buckeye 5 and instants, but she never does.

That changed a few days ago when she went to the Discount Drug Mart on state Route 58 to buy crabgrass killer. She didn’t find any, but on a whim she bought a $30 Millions ticket.

The ticket was a winner — for $1 million.

“I had to dig down in the bottom of my purse to find enough dollar bills to buy it,” Bunnell said. “I don’t know why I bought it. I just did.”

The pricey ticket — the costliest ever for an instant game — offers the biggest payout in the form of a $10 million top prize.

Bunnell scratched the ticket in her car. “I sat there for 20 minutes. I was so nervous; I didn’t know what to do. It was so unreal.”

She phoned three friends to seek advice on how to take the winnings — $40,000 a year for 25 years, or the lump-sum cash option.

Retired two years from the Elyria BASF plant, Kathy Bunnell phoned her husband.

“I was crying, and he thought one of the cats got run over,” Kathy Bunnell said.

A disbelieving Robert, 60, didn’t accept the couple’s great fortune until he saw the ticket for himself.

“He was flabbergasted,” Kathy said.

It wasn’t until the couple read the back of their winning ticket while driving to the lottery commission’s Lorain offices that they realized they could take a one-time cash payout.

After the hefty federal and state tax bite, the couple will receive $355,000.

That decision also led Robert Bunnell to call it quits after 36 years at the BASF plant. He was slated to retire in eight months.

“He went in and said, “I’m done as of today (Friday),’ ” Kathy Bunnell said.

She worked for the company 34 years.

“It was a great place to work, it really was,” Kathy Bunnell said. “It’s where we met.”

Asked what they plan to do with their winnings, Kathy Bunnell said, “We want to make our retirement really good.”

This means some traveling, which is one of the couple’s favorite activities.

“We’re looking online right now to come up with a trip we can take,” Kathy Bunnell said.

The Bahamas is getting a lot of love from the couple.

“We love it there but have not been back in a while (since Kathy’s 50th birthday) because it’s expensive to go there,” Kathy said.

The price tag should be a bit easier to take now.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

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