Skip to main content

Final million-dollar lottery winner revealed as college professor

He bought the ticket on a whim from a Kwik Trip.
john engstrom

The final Minnesota Lottery player who won a seven-figure sum over the past month has come forward to claim his prize.

The Powerball win from Dec. 18 was the only one out of five million-dollar winning tickets still to be claimed in Minnesota.

The winner has been identified as John Engstrom, of Mountain Lake, who is an associate professor of education at Southwest Minnesota State University.

As often seems to be the case with big lottery wins, Engstrom said it was a "fluke" that he even bought a ticket.

He was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping with his wife in Mankato when they stopped at a Kwik Trip to buy some donuts.

As he was waiting in line, he saw the Powerball sign and thought, "What the heck – I should buy a ticket," per a news release from the Minnesota Lottery.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

He then popped it in his coat pocket and forgot about it till Christmas Eve, when his grandson made a mess on his coat, prompting him to do some laundry.

"I told my son, ‘Your baby had a million-dollar mess!’ If it wasn’t for his messy diaper, I wouldn’t have checked the ticket," he said.

Here are the other players who have claimed million-dollar prizes this year:

  • Stanley and Marcia Juenemann of Elk River – $1 million Powerball prize from the Dec. 21, 2019.
  • Camhong Ly, of Minneapolis – $1 million in New Year's Day Millionaire Raffle.
  • Charles Wylie, of Elko New Market – $1 million in New Year's Day Millionaire Raffle.
  • Paul and Jeb Paczynski, both of Hermantown – $1.6 million Gopher 5 jackpot from the Dec. 16, 2019 drawing.​

Next Up


Charges: Teen speeding before crash that killed mother, injured her son

The teenager was driving at speeds between 72-89 mph at the time of the crash.

Northland Vapor in Moorhead, Minn.

Northland Vapor calls St. Paul regulators 'overzealous' in lawsuit over THC sales

The small Minnesota business said the lawsuit was "misleading" and "shameful."


Excelsior chocolate shop ransacked by thieves to reopen

Truffle Hill will reopen to the public on Friday.

Company agrees to changes after child workers found in MN meat plants

An investigation found children ages 13-17 working hazardous jobs at the plants.


Drinks can company to lay off almost 100 workers, close St. Paul plant

State authorities were informed of the impending closure.


Suspect in Minneapolis bar killing charged with weapons crime

The suspect has not been charged with murder in the case as of Wednesday.

snow, blowing snow

A monster storm is coming next week: What will happen?

What we know with high confidence at this point is that there will be a monster storm in the central U.S. by the early and middle part of next week.

police lights

Boy safe after kidnapping by non-custodial parent in Mankato

The search prompted the temporary shutdown of I-35 Tuesday night.


11 face charges after being found 'exploring' Fridley sewer system

A 911 caller reported seeing a group removing a manhole cover Monday night.


Man killed by St. Paul police ID'd by family, community demands answers

The man was identified as 24-year-old Howard Johnson.


Minnesota Lottery

$1 million lottery winner revealed as Kimball man

The second winner of $1 million on New Year's Day has not yet come forward.

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 7.18.23 AM

Three out of five million dollar lottery tickets claimed on Jan. 2

There are still two big wins from December that have not been claimed.

Minnesota Lottery

Two Minnesotans win $1 million in New Year's Day lottery

The tickets were bought in Glencoe and Two Harbors.

Two Minnesotans win $1M in New Year's Day lottery game

They won in the Jan. 1 Minnesota Millionaire Raffle.

Jeffery Love - winner

Minnesota's $21.6 million lottery winner comes forward

The Elk River resident had the ticket in his glovebox.

City of Carlton, population 1,046, has 2 lottery millionaires in 3 weeks

Two recent Powerball winers have come from the northern Minneaota city.