Jeannette man wins $1M prize from Father’s Day gift of lottery ticket |

Jeannette man wins $1M prize from Father’s Day gift of lottery ticket

Jacob Tierney

Christina Morrah always buys sentimental cards for Father’s Day, the kind that make her dad tear up. This year, her card came with a last-minute gift: a lottery ticket worth $1 million.

When Joseph Morrah, 61, scratched the coating off the ticket Sunday afternoon in his Jeannette home, he uncovered a space that said “payout.” He wasn’t sure what it meant, but Christina knew.

“She starts screaming her head off,” Joseph Morrah said. “ ‘You’re a millionaire!’ ”

“Everybody on both sides of the street heard my scream,” his daughter said.

Joseph’s wife, Debbie, had sent her daughter to the Rite Aid on Clay Avenue for a last-minute Father’s Day gift.

“I said, ‘Buy a lottery ticket for him,’ because I didn’t get him anything, and I felt bad,” she said.

Only one type of $20 ticket was left in the machine, a game called “$1 Million Payout.”

Five tickets in the state paid out the top prize.

Morrah’s win hasn’t been verified by Pennsylvania Lottery officials.

The Morrahs drove to the Pittsburgh lottery office Monday to claim their winnings, but their ticket won’t be validated until it arrives in Harrisburg. Officials in Pittsburgh said they aren’t authorized to confirm a big win.

Joseph Morrah, a truck driver for Supervalu for 31 years, had been counting down the days until he retires — less than 200 to go — and said he will retire early.

The money guarantees him a comfortable living, he said.

“It still hasn’t settled in. When I see the check in my hand, then I’ll believe it,” he said.

Emma Young, a shift supervisor at the Jeannette Rite Aid, said it’s been an exciting week. The store’s workers heard about the winning ticket, but the Morrahs haven’t visited the store yet, she said.

“Somebody told me, ‘We have a winner. We sold a winner,’ ” she said.

Young couldn’t recall a payout at the store of more than $1,000.

Morrah has hired a financial adviser to help him plan for retirement, and he intends to be prudent in spending the winnings.

He does, however, plan to buy a few things just for fun.

“I’m going to buy another muscle car,” he said. It will join his 1960s Chevrolet Bel Air. And he wants to buy a new truck and give his old one to daughter Kimberly.

Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected].

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