Niles stay-at-home mom purchases $1 million lotto ticket

Published 4:27 pm Friday, December 27, 2013

Amy Gourlay (submitted photo)

Amy Gourlay (submitted photo)

Amy Gourlay didn’t know what to think when her husband told her they’d matched five of six numbers in the Dec. 17 Mega Millions lottery.

“I put my hands to my face like the little boy in ‘Home Alone,'” said Gourlay, 46, of Niles. “I asked my husband ‘What does that mean? What does that mean?'”

The two went to the computer to confirm what Gourlay’s husband had already guessed.

They had just won $1 million.

“Sure enough that’s what it said. We were stunned and shocked,” said Gourlay.

Gourlay, a stay-at-home mom who substitute teaches at Niles Community Schools, purchased her winning ticket at the Martin’s Supermarket on South 11th Street. She said she normally spends between $2 and $5, but decided to spend $10 on quick picks because the jackpot was so large ($648 million).

It’s a good thing she did.

The final line of numbers on the ticket produced the winner.

The only number they didn’t match was the mega ball number of 7. The Gourlay’s mega ball number was 8, leaving Gourlay with mixed feelings about coming so close to the jackpot.

“I was a little disappointed because you think about all the things that you could do for yourself, family and friends,” she said. “At the same time I was a little relieved because that’s a huge amount of money and a huge responsibility.”

Gourlay has been a Niles resident since her family moved there at age 3. She graduated from Niles High School in 1985.

She has been married to her husband for 20 years. They have two kids ages 12 and 16. Both attend Niles Community Schools, one at Niles New Tech and the other at Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center.

Gourlay said they don’t have any specific plans for spending the money. She said they would save the majority of it after taking a family trip and donating a portion to local and national causes close to their hearts.

“We don’t want to change at all because we love our lives,” she said. “We want life to stay the way it is because that’s how we like it.”

There were two jackpot winning tickets sold. The Gourlays had one of 20 $1 million winners.