Final million-dollar lottery winner revealed as college professor

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

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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.​

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