Caption

Stone Mountain woman wins Mega Millions

Ira Curry is a wife, a mother of adult children and a grandmother whom neighbors in her upper middle class subdivision in Stone Mountain call “sweet.”

She is, however, no longer anonymous. She and her husband are $120 million dollars richer.

The 56-year-old Curry used family birthdays to pick the numbers for her winning Mega Millions lottery ticket, she told lottery officials. And the family’s lucky number — 7 — was used for the all-important Mega Ball.

She collects the largest single win in Georgia history and will split the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot in U.S. history, totaling roughly $648 million, with winners in San Jose, Calif., lottery officials said.

Curry chose the numbers 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, along with lucky No. 7, officials said.

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“It’s unreal … like I’m still dreaming,” she told lottery officials Wednesday after hearing her family’s numbers announced.

Curry did not attend the Georgia Lottery press event announcing the win on Wednesday and has made an effort to remain out of the media spotlight.

When a call was placed to her home Wednesday evening, a man answered and said, “We don’t want any publicity.”

Neighbor Francis Boudreaux said the Currys had lived for the past five years in the Reserves at Water’s Edge subdivision near Stone Mountain, where tax records shows homes there originally sold for near $300,000.

“They’re really sweet people,” Boudreaux said. “I’m happy for them. I’m going to miss them.”

Asked why he would miss them, Boudreaux said he expected them to move now that their lives had changed.

“I wouldn’t stay here,” he said.

Curry bought the winning ticket at Gateway Newsstands on the ground floor of the Alliance Center building at 3500 Lenox Road, across from Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.

She works — or worked — in the building, as a vice president and property underwriting manager for Aspen Insurance.

Apsen issued a statement to NBC News congratulating Curry on her win.

“Ira is a valued long-term employee with Aspen, and the entire Apsen team is thrilled for her and her family,” the statement read. “It could not have happened to a nicer person, and we are excited for her good fortune.”

Others who work in the building say they are glad for her, even if they didn’t win themselves.

“I was happy to hear it was someone who works here,” said Chris York, who works in the building. “I wish I had thought to buy a ticket this week.”

Flavio Piwowarezyk, who also works in the building, said he buys a ticket every week from Gateway.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t my ticket,” he said. “This morning I heard them say (the ticket) was purchased in Buckhead and I was thrilled. Then I heard it was bought here. But I had all the wrong numbers.”

Still, Piwowarezyk sent out positive vibes for the winner.

“Good for her,” he said.

Two other Georgia players matched the first five numbers drawn Tuesday — but not the No. 7 Mega Ball — and won $1 million each, Georgia Lottery officials said. Eighteen players in other states also matched those same five numbers and won $1 million.

Young Soo Lee has worked at the Gateway Newsstands franchise, which sells cards, gifts and snacks, for nine years. She said she thinks she might have sold the winning ticket.

The Mega Millions jackpot had been climbing since October and had neared the record high of $656 million before Tuesday night’s game.

With the wins, the jackpot for Friday’s drawing was reset to $15 million. The top prize in Wednesday night’s Powerball multi-state lottery is $50 million.

Georgia Lottery sales for this Mega Millions draw, from Oct. 4 to Dec. 17, totaled approximately $42.5 million, Georgia Lottery spokesman J.B. Landroche said.

“This particular jackpot generated over $17.3 million for Georgia’s HOPE and Pre-K Programs,” he said.

— Staff writer Scott Trubey and photographers John Spink and Ben Gray contributed to this article.

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