ATLANTA (AP) — On her way to work, Ira Curry heard on the radio that one of the winning lottery ticket numbers was her family's lucky No. 7. She called home, her daughter checked the ticket and in an instant, Curry was a multi-millionaire.
Curry came forward Wednesday to collect half of the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second largest in U.S. history. She'll take the lump sum of about $120 million after taxes, which will be given to her in about a week or two. The other winning ticket was sold in San Jose, Calif. The winner there has one year to come forward.
Curry, her husband and other family members came to the lottery headquarters in Atlanta to claim the prize, surprising officials who thought the winner may take some time to get their affairs in order. Alford said Curry bought just one ticket and chose the numbers based on relatives' birthdays and the lucky 7.
"She said she was just in a state of disbelief," Georgia Lottery chief executive Debbie Alford said.
It wasn't clear whether she ever made it to work Wednesday. On Thursday, Aspen Insurance said in an emailed statement that Curry is still an employee there, working as a vice president in the property department at the Atlanta office.
"Ira is a valued long-term employee with Aspen, and the entire Aspen team is thrilled for her and her family," Mario Vitale, chief executive officer, said in the statement. "It could not have happened to a nicer person, and we are excited for her good fortune."
Curry, of Stone Mountain, lives in a neighborhood of brick and stucco houses with manicured lawns about 10 miles east of Atlanta. Her home is two stories with a two-car garage and a basketball goal in the driveway.
Much about her remains unknown. A Facebook page that appeared to be hers was taken down soon after her name was announced, and lottery officials would not give out her age or other information.
She didn't attend the news conference, and someone who answered her home phone Wednesday said the family didn't want any publicity and hung up. A man who answered the door said the same thing.
On Thursday, it didn't appear anyone was home, though several visitors and journalists were trying to reach Curry and her family. Some left packages, and other deliveries were made.
Ron White pulled up to the house in his BMW. He identified himself as a wealth manager but did not give his employer, and left an envelope at Curry's door. He said was there on the business of financial advice.