Publish date:

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

wikimedia commons - the beach boys 2019 - joergens.mi

Beach Boys bringing 2021 holiday tour to Minnesota

The iconic band's "Holiday Harmonies" tour stops at Treasure Island just before the new year.

pixabay - us supreme court

MN, WI attorney generals push SCOTUS to block to Texas abortion law

They say the law is in "direct contravention of nearly a half century of binding precedent."

Piper Cherokee

UND student killed in plane crash near Minnesota border

The crash happened Monday night just west of the Minnesota border.

fake airpods

Border officials seize hundreds of fake AirPods at International Falls

The AirPods were in a rail container headed for Ranier.

Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen

With Patrick Peterson injured, Vikings need to unleash the offense

Peterson's absence could have a bigger effect on the opposite side of the ball.

Cam Wiley

Gophers running back Cam Wiley announces plan to transfer

Wiley found himself buried on the depth chart.

sun country

Sun Country adds 7 new routes from MSP Airport this spring

It's also resuming four routes from the Twin Cities.

Walz, Flanagan

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz launches re-election campaign

Their campaign slogan: "One Minnesota. Moving Forward."


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.

Jeffery Love - winner

Minnesota's $21.6 million lottery winner comes forward

The Elk River resident had the ticket in his glovebox.

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

They won in the Jan. 1 Minnesota Millionaire Raffle.

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

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