RED BUD, Ill. (KMOX) –  Merle Butler of Red Bud Illinois checked his Mega Millions tickets when the winning numbers were being announced on the evening of March 30th.

“After I looked at it for a couple of minutes I turned to my wife and I said ‘We won’,” Butler said during a mid-morning news conference at Red Bud City Hall. “She kind of looked at me funny, and then she started giggling…and she giggled for four hours.”

The Butlers got no sleep that night, waiting to see if anybody else held a winning ticket for the record $640 million jackpot, which of course we now know that two others were sold in Maryland and Kansas.

That next morning, a weary but overjoyed Merle Butler drove down to his bank to put the ticket with the winning numbers – 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 with the Power Ball number 23 – into a safe deposit box.

“One of the people I know at the bank says ‘Oh, I guess you’re coming over to put your winning ticket away’,” he recalled. “I said ‘Yeah, I won this thing and I gotta get this ticket put away’, but they just laughed it off.

In fact, in the nearly three weeks since the drawing, Merle Butler said he’s answered a lot of questions from friends and neighbors truthfully, admitting that he was the Mega Millions winner but nobody believed him.

Only family members knew the truth…until Wednesday.

Merle and Pat, 65 and 62 respectively, are playing it fairly close to the vest when it comes to what they plan to do with the money.

“Instead of trying to think of things we could spend it on, we’ve been thinking about ways we can invest it,” according to Merle Butler, who admitted that a vacation may be in the near future for the couple.

In the meantime, they know that they’re financially set for the foreseeable future, while also realizing that dealing with this sudden multi-million dollar windfall will keep them busy.

“I was retired but now it looks like I’ve got another full-time job,” quipped Merle Butler.


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