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Couple Claims Record Jackpot; Say Ticket That Won Was Kept On Bible

August 16, 1988

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A maintenance man and his clerical-worker wife today claimed a record $26 million lottery jackpot with a ticket they said they kept on the family Bible.

″So I’d advise everybody to say your prayers. You don’t win it just on picking the numbers,″ said Marvin Davidheiser of Brandon, who with his wife, Emily, collected the biggest jackpot since the Florida lottery began in January.

The Florida Lotto jackpot will pay the couple about $940,000 a year, after taxes, for the next 20 years.

They said the winning ticket was one of 40 they bought for Aug. 6 drawing and stacked on the Bible. Davidheiser said the winning ticket was the last one the couple checked after the drawing, and it rested directly on the Bible.

The couple, who declined to give their ages, described themselves as ″working people.″ Davidheiser is a building maintenance man for a bus company. His wife is a clerk with the Hillsborough County tax collector.

The couple, who have three grown children, said they plan to retire and travel. They said they waited more than a week to come forward in order to take care of home-security matters, talk to their accountant and make out a will.

Mrs. Davidheiser said the winning ticket was among 20 she bought for that week. Her husband of 11 years also bought 20, and said the winning numbers were picked at random.

Their accountant, Clinton Humphreys, said on Monday that he was flying to Tallahassee with the winners but refused to identify them in advance.

″They are a quiet, conservative couple and just wanted to make sure everything was set before they claimed the money,″ Humphreys told the Tampa Tribune.

The couple have lived in the Brandon area for 15 years. ″They really love where they live and are hoping that they don’t have to move because of all this,″ Humphreys said.

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