Iowa Grandma Who Won Half the $687 Million Powerball Jackpot Almost Lost Her Ticket

Thursday November 8th 2018

Lerynne West, who came forward as the Iowa winner of the $343.9 million Powerball jackpot from the October 27 drawing, has told how she didn’t even know at first she had won after misplacing her ticket.

The 51-year-old single mom worked full-time, including nights and weekends, to pay for school and take care of her family. She is the mother of three adult daughters and has six grandchildren.

West recently bought her first house in Redfield, Iowa. The small community in Dallas County has about 830 residents. It was while she was moving into her new home that West bought her winning ticket when she and her sister stopped at Casey’s, 425 Second Street in Redfield, for pizza and coffee. She thought she put her easy-pick ticket into her purse in her sister’s pickup truck.

The day after the drawing, a friend texted West asking if she had won the jackpot. She replied that it was likely she hadn’t, but she would check her ticket.

When she couldn’t find it, she called her sister, who eventually located it on the floor of her truck. Her sister sent her a picture and when West checked the numbers, she realized she had won the jackpot.

“I told my sister to get in her truck and get that ticket and get up here right now! And, drive slow,” West laughs as she remembers that day. Later she drove past Casey’s and smiled as she watched TV crews setting up to film at the store that sold the jackpot-winning ticket.

West and her family are setting up the Callum Foundation, named after her grandson Callum. He was born prematurely in April and lived just one day.

"I know the responsibility that I have to do good with this money, and my life has changed forever," an emotional West said as she claimed her prize at Iowa lottery headquarters in Clive. "I plan to make thoughtful and responsible decisions on giving to my friends, my family and setting up so that my grandchildren will all have a college education."

She drives a Ford Fiesta with 142,000 miles on it - so not surprisingly, one of the things on her wishlist is a new car - one with room for all her grandchildren!

The jackpot-winning tickets in Iowa and New York each matched all six numbers drawn on October 27, so they split the $687.8 million top prize. The winning numbers were: 8-12-13-19-27 and Powerball 4. The Power Play number was 3. The New York winner has not yet come forward.

Powerball jackpot winners can choose to receive their prizes as a one-time, lump-sum payment or as a series of annuity payments over time. West chose to receive her prize as a lump-sum payment, the form most winners opt for.

Previous Iowa Lottery Winners

Iowa also had another big lottery win in October. A Mega Millions® ticket purchased in Davenport, IA won $1 million by matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball. That prize remains unclaimed, as does a $1 million Powerball prize won in April in Nevada, central Iowa.

Iowa’s eight previous Powerball jackpot winners are:

  1. Brian and Mary Lohse of Bondurant: Claimed a $202.1 million jackpot in September 2012.
  2. A group of colleagues in the shipping department at the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids, who called themselves The Shipping 20: Split a $241 million jackpot in June 2012. That was the largest lottery prize in Iowa history until now.
  3. Tim and Kellie Guderian of Fort Dodge: Won $200.8 million in October 2006.
  4. Hugh Hawkins of Des Moines: Claimed a $113.2 million top prize in December 2005.
  5. Jacquelyn Moore of Omaha, Nebraska: Won $14.4 million in October 2004 (she purchased her ticket in Carter Lake in western Iowa).
  6. The Larry Hasken family of Sabula: Scooped a $31.8 million jackpot in January 2000.
  7. Tim Schultz of Des Moines: Claimed $28 million in February 1999.
  8. Ed Brown of Washington, IA: Split a $10.4 million jackpot with a Missouri woman in December 1992.

Prize Details

A Powerball jackpot winner needs to choose between receiving their winnings as an annuity or a lump sum payment. Below are the options available to the two winners of the October 27 drawing. Lerynne West decided to take the lump sum one-time payment of $198.1 million.


Payments Totaling: $343.9 million

Annuities are paid in 30 payments over 29 years. Federal withholding taxes of 24% and state withholding taxes of 5% would be applied to each payment.

Lump Sum

Prize: $198.1 million

Federal withholding: $47.5 million (24%)

State withholding: $9.9 million (5%)

After-tax prize: $140.6 million

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