Western Pa. woman’s dying husband worried she’d have money troubles. Then she won the lottery

Western Pa. woman’s dying husband worried she'd have money troubles. Then she won the lottery

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. (Photo: Pennsylvania Lottery)

By Associated Press

June 17, 2024

Two weeks before her husband died from a brain tumor, Karen Coffman of Armstrong County bought a Pennsylvania Lottery ticket at her local gas station that netted her $1 million.

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 Western Pa. 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 last Thursday at a ceremony at which lottery officials presented her with a ceremonial check. It was staged at the BP 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. She said she won $65,000 on a scratch-off ticket about 14 years ago from the same BP. 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 as a chef at a nursing home before retiring last month. She said she plans to invest some of her winnings and treat relatives to a deluxe Disney trip. Eventually she plans to move to Florida, saying “I don’t want winter no more. I hate the cold. I’m so done with the snow”

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

Keystone senior community editor Patrick Berkery contributed to this story.


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