Chris and Tina Crane were the lucky winners of the Washington Mega Millions lottery jackpot on the 3rd October 2008. They won $42 million with the winning Mega Millions numbers 13, 28, 32, 41, 52 and 16, and have decided to take the annual payments of $1.62 million per year for 26 years, that will be $1,148 million after taxes.
Chris Crane, age 51, says he spent $20 on Mega Millions lotto tickets twice a week and always played the same numbers. His largest win to date was $7. Chris and Tina bought their winning Mega Millions lotto tickets at Stoney Creek Party Shoppe on Van Dyke in Washington Township. The shop will receive $50,000 for selling the lucky ticket. Marc di Maria, the shop owner’s son, said he is sure his parents will plough the money back into the shop. Di Maria said Chris Crane was a regular and “we’re excited for him, he’s a good guy.”
Mr Crane didn’t look at his Mega Millions lotto ticket until Saturday 4th October and then saw that they had won. He didn’t believe his eyes, so he woke up Tina who was sleeping before her night shift. “I didn’t know what to think, but I knew he wasn’t joking, he knows better than to wake me up for something like that.”
Tina Crane, age 47, works the night shift as an X-ray technician at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac and Chris is a service engineer at Chrysler in Auburn Hills. Crane said, “I don’t know what to do, we are still in shock.”
Chris and Tina are now farmers and plan to set up a holiday camp for disabled children but they have made it clear to family and friends that they are not giving any of it away.
When the Crane’s four children heard that their family had won the Mega Millions lottery jackpot, they said, “Dad, we are rich.” Chris Crane’s response was, “No, Dad’s rich, you guys still have to work for a living!” Chris and Tina are determined to teach their children the value of a hard day’s work. “If they want money, they have to work for it,” Tina said.
“We don’t need the money from the farms,” Crane said, “I do it more for the kids than I do for myself. I wasn’t just going to give them money to sit around all day. They are all into farming now.”
Chris and Tina Crane resigned from their jobs following the life changing Mega Millions results and moved to Georgia, which is where Tina is from. They bought a beef cattle ranch, a pecan farm and a farm which concentrates on hay production. So far they have made a loss on their farming exploits, mainly due to a corn crop which perished in heavy rain.
Chris Crane loves the farms. He is the first one up in the morning and tries to get out into the fields before the sun becomes too hot to work. “Life is just about perfect,” Chris Crane said, “my family are together in a small Georgia town, my kids are working and I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do – farm. We don’t have to worry about retirement. We don’t have to worry about a job, but I probably work harder than I ever did.”
Chris and Tina Crane had read about a lot of Mega Millions lottery jackpot winners who were broke within a year or so of winning, and they were determined that was not going to be their fate. The Cranes say the only dampener on their Mega Millions lotto win, has been people begging. They have tried to keep their new location a secret and say the begging letters have now trickled down to about one a week.
Their first year’s income was spent mainly on farm vehicles and equipment. “We bought the wife a new van, but that’s about it,” Chris Crane said. He is still happy with his 1985 Chevy half-ton pick-up which has clocked up 218,000 miles. Tina Crane says of their house, “it’s a 2,200 sq ft ranch-style house and is nothing fancy, it just keeps us comfortable.
Tina Crane is determined that the next year’s Mega Millions lotto payment is for her endeavours. She has set her heart on building a horse ranch for children with disabilities, a place where they can stay for a couple of weeks and thoroughly enjoy the outdoors and the special relationship with horses.