Her dying husband worried she'd have money troubles. Then she won the lottery

FREEPORT, Pa. (AP) — In the weeks before his death, Karen Coffman's husband worried she might have money troubles after he was gone.

But two weeks before he died in April of complications from a brain tumor, the Pennsylvania woman bought a scratch-off state lottery ticket that netted her $1 million.

“When I told him about the prize, he thought I was lying to him,” Coffman, 61, said of Robert, her husband of 31 years. She believes there was a spiritual intervention that brought about her win.

“I do think he had something in the works, because he was worried. I hope he’s looking down on this,” an emotional Coffman said Thursday at a ceremony at which lottery officials presented her with a ceremonial check. It was staged at the gas station where she bought her winning ticket, which cost her $20.

“I don’t go out places. I work and go home. They know me here (at the station),” Coffman said.

The longtime resident of Freeport, near Pittsburgh, described herself as a consistent lottery player who favors scratch-off tickets. When she realized she had won a big prize, she initially stood inside the store in disbelief before a station employee verified her win. She then went home and was shaking by the time she told her husband.

Coffman, who took a lump sum payout, worked in the senior care industry before retiring last month. She said she plans to use some of her winnings to treat relatives to a deluxe Disney trip and eventually plans to move to Florida, saying “I don’t want winter no more. I hate the cold.”

She also plans to resume playing the lottery when things settle down.