By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer
A local man who won $130,000 from the Ohio lottery Monday night plans to use his windfall to buy health insurance.
John Lehotay, 80, said he and his wife, Essie, would save the money and use it for necessities. After 29 percent is held in taxes he will receive about $92,300.
He has played the lottery for years, he said, and he uses his five grandchildren’s birthdates as his winning numbers on the $1 Rolling Cash 5 ticket.
His wife, he said, doesn’t believe in playing the lottery. “She said after we won that we finally just broke even,” he joked.
He scanned the ticket Tuesday at the Penn-Ohio Lottery and Deli, 850 S. Irvine Ave., Sharon, and couldn’t believe it when he won.
“I thought it was a mistake. I told the girl she better scan it and see and she said to me, “You’re the one. You’re the winner.”
The store, which straddles the state line and sells both states’ games, will receive a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Lehotay retired as a superintendent from Sharon Steel Corp. after 42 years. His wife, who is 71, still works for Brookfield Local School District. The couple live in Masury.
“I expect she’ll be retiring soon and this will take the pressure off,” he said. “We aren’t taking any trips or buying a new car or anything like that. We’ll put it away.”
“We are going to have to buy health care and that will be a big expense,” he added.
The couple took the ticket to the state lottery office in Youngstown and had it verified. It will take another month until they get the winnings, Lehotay said.
“We didn’t tell anyone,” he said.
His wife said she didn’t consider winning as being lucky. “We’re well blessed by God. We never say we’re lucky. We say we’re blessed.”
Lehotay said he has won “a couple bucks here and there” in the past, and plans to continue to play the lottery.
The couple has two sons, James Lehotay, who lives in Liberty, Ohio; and Stanley Lehotay, Rome, N.Y.8