BEACHWOOD, N.J. — A New Jersey family, largely based in Ocean County, had a few tough years between losing homes during Superstorm Sandy and suffering through a slow economy.
But that all changed when the Endreson family met Thursday to share the news of their $20,100,000 turnaround in fortune. The family won the Pick 6 with the lucky numbers 3, 12, 18, 34, 35, 42.
Seventeen siblings and 20 people overall are sharing the winnings. Members of the family packed the Beachwood Community Center on Thursday afternoon.
John Endreson, 69, lost his home during Sandy, and depleted his savings to rebuild it.
"The hardest part was seeing others that were devastated," he said.
But with the family's winning ticket, Endreson said he felt lucky.
"Things are looking up, thanks to the state of New Jersey and my mom," he said.
The winners chose to take the lump sum rather than an annuity that pays out each year, making the jackpot $14 million. After taxes, the take-home prize is about $10 million, officials said.
New Jersey Lottery officials initially identified the winner as a mother with a sprawling family who planned on splitting the multimillion-dollar lottery jackpot with her 16 brothers and sisters.
A statement released Tuesday described the family: "The patriarch of the family emigrated from Norway in the early 20th century. Later, he met the family's matriarch on the Jersey Shore, where they remained and set their roots in Ocean County. Through hard work and perseverance they raised a family and grew a successful business that is still in existence today."
Judy Drucker, spokeswoman for the state lottery, said the winner, Sigrid Endreson, was one of the 17 living children, ranging in age from 53 to 76, of the couple described in the statement. The winner indicated a desire to split the prize 20 ways, one share — though Drucker could not say if they would all be equal — for each sibling, as well as the three children of a brother who died a few years ago, she said.
This is the second major lottery prize for Ocean County in the last 12 months. A group of co-workers at the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Garage in Toms River, dubbed "Ocean's 16," split $86 million from a Powerball jackpot last August.
Drucker said the winning ticket was a single wager, a $1 Quick Pick, meaning the player had just one set of randomly generated numbers. The odds of matching all six numbers are 1 in 13,983,816, according to the lottery.
The family wanted to keep their identities a secret and take a "one and done" approach to what they believed would be a media swarm in reaction to the news. New Jersey law requires the names of lottery winners to be divulged.
The owner of the 7-Eleven in Lacey Township, N.J., where the winning ticket was sold said he had never met Sigrid Endreson, who purchased the winning ticket. She was not a regular customer.
"We knew right away that we had a winner," said Manny Chaudhari, the owner. "We heard a couple of days ago. But we never heard from the winner."
Contributing: Russ Zimmer, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press