Retired Illinois couple claims share of record Mega Millions jackpot
Pat Butler and her husband, Merle Butler, of Red Bud, Illinois, are the last winners of March 30's record Mega Millions jackpot to claim their prize.
April 18th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Retired Illinois couple claims share of record Mega Millions jackpot

[Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET] Merle and Pat Butler, lifetime residents of Red Bud, Illinois, hold the third winning ticket worth $218 million in last month's record $656 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, officials announced Wednesday.

"I looked (at) my wife, who was right there with me, and said, 'We won,' Merle Butler, 65, told reporters in Red Bud on Wednesday of the moment he realized he had a winning ticket on the night of the March 30 drawing. "Then she looked at me funny, and I said, 'No, we won.' "

"She giggled for about four hours, I think," he said.

The retired couple bought just three numbers for the drawing, meaning they spent $3 to win their share of the jackpot. They bought the ticket in Red Bud, a community of about 3,700 people roughly 25 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.

The Butlers came forward publicly in their hometown's City Hall on Wednesday after spending the past two weeks hiring "real good financial advisers" and a lawyer to help them manage their new fortune, which is $158 million after taxes are deducted, they said.

Two other winning tickets (worth roughly $218 million each, before taxes) were sold for the March 30 drawing that had a record $656 million pretax payout: One in Maryland, and one in Kansas.

The three people who shared a winning ticket in Maryland and the one winner in Kansas claimed their prizes earlier this month, but they exercised their rights in those states to not reveal their names. Illinois, unlike those states, requires lottery winners to come forward publicly.

Still, the Maryland lottery winners made it known that they are three public school employees - a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s. The Maryland winners are an elementary school teacher, a special education teacher and an administrative worker, according to Maryland Lottery.

The man and two women who shared ownership of the winning ticket in Maryland are known only as the "Three Amigos." They said they plan to keep their fortune a secret - and keep working.

mega millions

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. speedro

    Don't blow it all, hillbillies. Glad you have some "real good" financial advisors.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Topshot

      "Hillbillies" are good people by nature. Come to TX sometime, you'll find the rude and greedy one's here are from somewhere up north.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Libdumb

    Maybe they can fund Day Care for the Libs. Only for the time they need to go pick-up their welfare check.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • suesark

      You are a real smart person aren't you?

      April 18, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Gan

      – 10

      April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. GenericMan

    The real winners are their kids. 😉

    April 18, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan in Colo

    Jerry Sandusky?

    April 18, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. D

    It must be very frustrating to have spent your entire life saving for retirement, putting your money away instead of enjoying it and then, WHAM, at age 65 you get handed $158 million which makes all the money you saved up seem worthless in comparison. I really feel bad for this couple.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. noone

    The friends, investors, business start ups...and law suits...are about to start pouring in for these guys. They are also now high potential for kidnapping, blackmail and outright home invasion.

    Better add security guards to those real good advisers. I envy the money they won...but not this having to go public nonsense.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Gan

      The State of Illinois requires that their identi ty be made public. I doubt they wished to disclose their names.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Wolfie

      The better to stalk them with, huh?

      April 18, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rationality

    For those who wish that the winners could stay anonymous. How would we know that the winner wasn't legit unless we can see them? By making their names/pictures public you ensure the validity of the lottery system. (They aren't just made up people to win).

    That said, good luck to the winners. The money may not change you, but you can always afford to move somewhere else and come back and visit where you are now.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Gan

      The State of Illinois disagrees with you.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      No need for anyone to know if they were legit. I'm sure the lottery will ensure that they were legal. As Noone said, they are now going to be hounded by a lot of others.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NickD

    Good for the Butlers.

    I know the town of Red Bud and the vast majority of people who live there are good decent people.

    Hopefully the Butlers will throw a big dance and party for all the legal residents of that town and then afterwords all of the good and decent people of that town will respect the privacy of the Butler family so that their tranquil community can remain the home of the Butler family.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      Nice, but very unlikely. Every scam artist in the country is now getting out their maps, printing the Butlers' picture, and makiing a beeline for Red Bud. The Butlers won't be able to open their front door without seeing somebody pleading for a handout. Forget going out in public. If they have any sense they'll kiss Red Bud goodbye and move far away.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ron & Shirley

    Congratulations Merle & Pat !!! So happy for you & your family!! Glad it was someone we know & to think we graduated together!! Enjoy & God Bless You!!

    April 18, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. JL Taylor

    I am amazed by the fact that a number of responders find a way to turn every
    story into race issue or a conservitave versus liberal example. God help America.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry

    It never fails there is always one old couple that wins.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sf

    i think it's disgusting that these lotterys force their winners to be put on display for all to see! it's like putting a target on these people! If I win, I'm going to go in a costume...and ficticious name! OR, just move out of the country for a year...cuz lord knows how americans and their idiotic media can be!

    April 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kay

    Wouldn't you know it'd be a well-off retired couple who didn't really need the money? It couldn't be a single mother whose husband died in the service and was about to lose her home or an unemployed man whose wife was battling cancer but who doesn't have the funds to get her treated.

    Oh, well. Sure hope they're ready for the deluge of pleas and threats coming their way. They shouldn't be too hard to find in such a small town, soon they'll have the fun of not even being able to step out of their car without being besieged by people tearfully begging for money.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Now he'll be able to go to Walmart and afford that fishin pole he always wanted.
    But you nor I will never win anyways.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. High Hopes

    My phone is sure to lose service...

    Keep the Faith,


    April 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
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