An Iowa County man was just one number away from winning a big Powerball jackpot last week and ended up winning $50,000.
Merlyn Huedepohl of Williamsburg matched four of the first five numbers and the Powerball in the May 7 drawing to win a $50,000 prize.
Huedepohl's winning easy pick ticket had matched all of the numbers expect for '26;' he said his ticket had '46' instead. He bought his winning ticket at Casey's, 602 S. Highland St. in Williamsburg last week and returned there Tuesday morning to check his tickets. He said he had several tickets from recent drawings to check and had no idea that he'd won $50,000.
"While I was standing there, on the counter it was written on a sheet of paper that there was a $50,000 winner from this location," Huedepohl told lottery employees the same day as he claimed his prize at the lottery's headquarters in Clive. "The clerk pushed the next ticket in and she says, 'Now I hope you're the $50,000 winner.' And she pushed the next one in and she says, 'You're the $50,000 winner!'"
The 72-year-old retired farmer and factory worker said he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"I thought she was kidding me and she looked at me again and she says, 'No, seriously!'" Huedepohl said.
Huedepohl was on his way to meet his morning coffee group, but he went home instead to tell his wife, Diane, the good news.
Diane said she wasn't expecting her husband back so soon and became worried when he stepped inside the house and came upstairs to see her.
"I was worried because he usually doesn't come home from coffee until 9:30 or 10:00 and here it was a little after 8 a.m. and I thought, 'Something is wrong,'" Diane said. "And then when he came upstairs I thought, 'Yeah, something is wrong.'"
Nothing was bad, though. It was good news and Huedepohl said he was excited to share it his wife.
"I said, 'Look at this, dear!' And she looked at me. I said, 'That's $50,000!'" Merlyn said.
The couple said they plan to save their winnings.
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