$8 million Lotto winner plans to punch time clock a little longer


CHESAPEAKE CITY -- Mary Alice Banks is going to stay on as manager of the Elkton K mart's camera and jewelry counter at least through Christmas, even though she just won enough money to buy the whole store and then some.

The 57-year-old Chesapeake City resident was sole winner of the $8 million Maryland Lotto jackpot of Dec. 8. Mrs. Banks received her first payment yesterday in front of the Chesapeake City grocery store where she bought the winning ticket.

"I've been working there at K mart for six years," Mrs. Banks said. "My husband passed away and I had to go to work. I couldn't walk out on them at this time of year."

Mrs. Banks said she decided to keep $4 million of the jackpot for herself and to divide the remaining $4 million between her two sons, Robert B. Banks Jr., 39, and Ronald Banks Sr., 34. William F. Rochford, director of the State Lottery Agency, presented Mrs. Banks with her first check, for $189,948.90, in front of the Country Grocer on Route 213. Mrs. Banks will receive 19 annual payments of $187,000 before taxes.

Robert and Ronald Banks received initial payments of $94,974.89, and will each receive 19 annual payments of $93,500.

"I am buying a new car -- a GM because that's where my husband worked and where my son Ron works," said Mrs. Banks. "But I'm not moving and I'm not buying a new home. I'm going to stay right here in Chesapeake City."

The winning ticket was one of 10 random lottery tickets Mrs. Banks bought last Wednesday at the Country Grocer. She is the third winner from Cecil County since Lotto was begun in 1983.

Mrs. Banks said she watched the televised drawing as always Saturday night and jotted down the winning numbers: 08-11-27-28-37-49. "But then I got busy in the kitchen and I didn't check them until just before I went to bed," Mrs. Banks said.

The winning ticket was the last of her 10 tickets.

"I had just talked to her on the phone, and she said she was going to check her tickets and go to bed," said Cheryl Banks, Robert's wife. "A few minutes later, the phone rang again and I told Robert 'That's your mother.' "

Mrs. Banks said at first she thought she only had five of the six winning numbers. A second look told her all six were correct.

Donna Lyon, manager of the Country Grocer, said she knew Sun

day the store had sold the winning ticket.

"I've known Mary for two or three years now from coming in every week to buy lottery tickets," said Ms. Lyon. "It's great that she won. You know, customers always say 'Pull us out a winner.' It couldn't happen to a nicer person, and she does need it. She's by herself."

It's not the first time Mrs. Banks has won at the lottery either.

"I've won a few times before. I won $2,000 in the Winner Take All game. And I've been to Atlantic City twice," Mrs. Banks said. "I always said I'd be a big winner one day, and my sons just said 'Sure, Mom.'"

*Carol L. Bowers is a reporter for the Harford County Sun, a suburban edition of The Baltimore Sun.

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