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Retired Tug Captain Claims Last Share of Record Lottery Prize

May 5, 1989

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A retired New York City tugboat captain and his family staked their claim Thursday for the final share of a record $115.5 million Super 7 lottery jackpot.

Henry G. Ronneberg, of Wilcox, Pa., presented what is apparently the 14th winning ticket in last Wednesday’s game, which offered the largest lottery prize in North America.

″It took a while for it to dawn on me that we had the winning ticket,″ Ronneberg, 66, said after filing his claim for $8.3 million payable in 26 annual installments.

″We were numb,″ added his wife, Barbara.

The Ronnebergs were accompanied to lottery headquarters by their son, Henry, 31, and his wife, Jane, 28, of Williamsport; their daughter, Darlene Widirsty, 37, and her husband, James, 35, of Long Island, N.Y., and Darlene’s son, Richard Luding, 22.

Ronneberg said he decided the $317,524 annual share would be split four ways among the three couples and the grandson.

″They’re just struggling,″ Barbara Ronneberg, 67, said of her children.

Ronneberg said he bought 50 tickets and has been playing lottery games on and off for several years.

Ronneberg, a native of Norway who has lived in the United States for 44 years, said he worked on tugboats in New York City Harbor from 1947 until 1984 for the Moran Towing and Transportation Co. He served in Norway’s merchant marine during World War II.

After his retirement, Ronneberg and his wife moved to the rural Pennsylvania farmhouse where she had been born.

Ronneberg said he thought he might use part of the winnings to visit his mother, Gunda, 89, in Kragero, Norway.

Previously filing claims for the 13 other shares were two suburban Philadelphia couples holding separate tickets; a group of 14 workers from a Windham, Ohio, brick factory; a mother and two grown children from the Johnstown, Pa., and Fort Montgomery, N.Y. areas; two Erie men who work at a General Electric plant; two couples and a man from Morgantown, W. Va.; a Washington, Pa., woman who works as an industrial sales representative; five family members from East Windsor, N.J.; a 74-year-old widow from Lebanon, Pa.; a chiropractor and his wife from New Brighton; and three Philadelphia women with separate tickets.

None of the claims has been validated yet by lottery officials. Spokeswoman Terry Murphy said the validation process would probably be completed late this week and the first checks would be issued next week.

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