116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
URBANA — An Eastern Iowa woman who bought a Mega Millions ticket while on a weekend getaway to her cabin along the Mississippi River has won a $1 million prize.
“I saw a ‘1’ with some zeroes,” Karen Kramer of Urbana said as she claimed her prize Thursday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. “I didn’t think about how many I saw at first, then it hit me.”
Convinced that the information on the lottery’s mobile app was wrong, she checked her ticket again – and again.
“I rechecked everything because I thought, ‘Well, my phone’s wrong.’ And it came up again the same,” said Kramer, 60, who works as a para-educator in her local school district. “So I went on the website, then I went and checked on Facebook and it said that the winning ticket had been won at Barry’s. And I’m going, ‘OK, that’s me!’”
Kramer said in a news release that she sent a text to her husband, Brad, which initially worried him because he only saw the first sentence: “Lightning struck us.” Then he read the rest of her message where she said she went on to say: “On Mega Millions, I won $1 million! But please don’t tell anybody yet.”
The couple managed to keep Karen’s big win a secret, not even telling their three adult children before she claimed the prize.
While Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot of $56 million was won in Illinois, Kramer’s ticket was just one number away from a share of the big prize, matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball.
Kramer’s ticket was one of just two in the country that won a $1 million prize that night, with the other in West Virginia.
Kramer bought her lucky ticket at Barry’s Mini Mart in Harpers Ferry, the community in northeast Iowa where she and her husband have their cabin. Barry’s Mini Mart will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket.
Kramer said that she and her husband plan to invest the bulk of her winnings for retirement and pay some bills. But she’s also got a four-footed addition to their home in mind.
“I want to get a dog,” she said.
Kramer’s prize is the third of at least $500,000 won in Iowa this year.