Expectant parents win $7.5 million prize


As if their lives couldn't get any fuller, Ira and Kelli Gilbert, winners of Saturday's $7.5 million Lotto jackpot, are expecting their second child today.

"It's too hard to believe," Mr. Gilbert said yesterday of the imminent birth and instant money.

The Gilberts, who purchased the ticket with Mrs. Gilbert's mother, Linda C. Taylor, at Santoni's Country Market in Glyndon, realized Saturday they had the winning numbers and claimed the big prize yesterday.

"We kept it a secret until we could go to the Lottery office," Mr. Gilbert said. "We didn't get a lot of sleep."

The family and Mrs. Taylor, who live together in Reisterstown, play the Lotto regularly, Mr. Gilbert said, and they always let the computer pick the numbers.

"It's like bingo," Mrs. Taylor said. "You never know what balls are coming up, so you might as well let the machine pick them."

And this time the computer didn't let them down, coming up with the magic numbers, 2-9-12-34-40-46.

It was the Santoni store's first Lotto winner, said manager Jennifer L. Santoni. "We're very excited," she said. "We're spreading the word."

The Gilberts, who have a 3 1/2 -year-old son, Kyle, plan to pay off their bills and make investments.

"We need time to figure out what we will do," Mr. Gilbert said. "We don't want to do anything stupid."

They will be sharing the first payment of $378,354.45 and the 19 subsequent payments of $373,000 before taxes with Mrs. Taylor, 55, who said she will retire as a day-care provider.

Mrs. Gilbert, 25, who helps her mother with the day-care business, also plans to stop working. But Mr. Gilbert, 28, who has managed a Ritz Camera store in Pikesville for 3 1/2 years, will continue working at least for a while, he said. Then he would like to return to school.

Right now, though, the Gilberts are waiting for the baby and trying to decide on names. After that, they would like to take a trip and buy a red Jeep.

Although the Gilberts and Mrs. Taylor were the big winners Saturday, there were 57 players who matched five of the six numbers to win $1,197, and 3,250 players who matched four numbers for $36.

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