Mary and Brian Lohse

September 26, 2012



A Bondurant couple claimed a $202.1 million Powerball jackpot on Thursday, becoming the second-biggest lottery winners in Iowa history. Mary and Brian Lohse said they had done their homework in advance by meeting with financial planners and had some very specific plans for the future as they claimed their big prize.

Mary Lohse, 42, a certified medical assistant at the pediatric clinic at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, said that the way the couple explained their win to their three children best encapsulates their plans as they move forward.

"We are still the same people that we were a week ago," she said she explained to her children. "And when your dad and I got married, we had dreams for things we wanted to do for our kids and, you know, have a boat and that kind of stuff. And we're going to do all that now, but we're still the same people that we were yesterday."

Brian Lohse, 43, an attorney at EMC Insurance in Des Moines, said the couple has formed the KJH Family, LLC, to claim the prize and handle the money moving ahead. "We have a plan to help our church and our community and the school," he said. "We're going to set up different structures to do that, financial structures to be able to do that. And of course our kids and ourselves – we want to make sure the kids are taken care of, so that we don't necessarily have to work 40 hours a week the rest of our lives."

The couple described the feeling of knowing that they will be able to help the Bondurant Federated Church where they are members and the Bondurant-Farrar Community School District where their children are students.

"God has certainly blessed us with more than we will ever need, and with the opportunity to do the good things in life and to do good for other people," Brian Lohse said. "So, that's our plan."

Brian Lohse, who had been out of town at the time, laughed as he remembered his initial reaction when his wife called him on Sept. 27 to share the news that they had won big.

"I just figured she was playing a joke," he said. "And she was carrying it quite far, but that's not necessarily unusual. She put her boss on and she tried to convince me as well, and I just figured I was being punked."

Mary Lohse said she bought just two Powerball plays on Sept. 26, the date of the drawing in which they won the jackpot.

"I was just filling up with gas on my way to work, and I usually do that once a week and that's when I usually buy a couple tickets," she said.

The next morning, she heard on the news that there was a Powerball jackpot winner in Iowa, and noticed that her ticket seemed to have at least some of the winning numbers. She then checked for sure once she had arrived at work.

"I was shaking so bad, I figured I should not be there giving children shots and stuff, so I lied and said that I had a sick child – which I have since apologized to them for – and left, and called him," she said as she smiled at Brian.

The couple said they plan to stay in the Bondurant community with their three children.

"I don't know how you're supposed to react," Mary Lohse said calmly as their claimed their prize. "I don't know what you're supposed to be doing. That's what everybody keeps saying, 'You should be doing flips!' But I'll have somebody else do them for me."

The Lohses' ticket matched all six numbers selected in the Sept. 26 Powerball drawing to win the jackpot. Mary Lohse purchased the winning ticket at: Casey's General Store, 1455 Grant St. in Bondurant.

Powerball jackpot winners can choose to receive their prizes in annuitized payments over time or as a one-time, lump-sum payment. The Lohses chose to receive the prize as the lump-sum option of $129.8 million.