Mega Millions Winners Merle and Patricia Butler

Mega Millions Winners Merle and Patricia ButlerReaching retirement is a goal for all of us. The idea of being able to settle down after decades of hard work appeals to our desire to relax, and for most retirees, they’re able to do just that. However, things don’t always go as planned—sometimes, they turn out much better. For Mega Millions winners Merle and Patricia Butler, their retirement plans changed massively when they realised they were holding the winning numbers for one of the biggest lottery jackpots in history.

Winning Mega Millions

When retirees Merle and Patricia Butler won the Mega Millions jackpot, they were in shock—so much so that Patricia had a laughing fit that went on for hours. After the Red Bud, Illinois, residents bought their $3 quick-pick ticket on March 30th, 2012, they were excited to sit down and watch the winning numbers be read on the news. Merle noted the numbers as he watched, and when he checked their ticket, he suddenly realised that they had just won a portion of the record $656 million jackpot!

Winning the lottery is a big deal; luckily, Merle and Patricia were well-equipped to do research on their next steps. The next morning, the two went to the bank to secure their winning ticket in a lockbox while they sought out advice to manage their newfound wealth. Though the Red Bud winning ticket became the talk of the town, the couple only told those closest to them about the incredibly good luck they had suddenly stumbled upon.

Since only two other winners came forward, Merle and Patricia Butler’s share totaled $218 million. The couple accepted a lump sum payment, which amounted to $158 million. Though the two preferred to remain anonymous, the state of Illinois requires all winners to come forward and reveal their identity. Though this is something they could have avoided if they had known how to set up a lottery trust, they still went about collecting their winnings very wisely.

How Did the Butlers Spend Their Winnings?

Merle and Patricia Butler Sarasota Vacation HomeThe couple’s first use of their money went to financial advisers and lawyers to ensure their affairs were in order before they went public about their winnings. Beyond that, Merle and Patricia had no solid plans for how they’d spend their money—they only knew that it was important to create an investment strategy for their millions.

Later that year, the couple made their first big purchase: a new home in Sarasota, Florida, which came with a large price tag of $7.5 million. The house comes equipped with four bedrooms, five baths, entertainment rooms, a pool, and more than 8,000 square feet. Though the residence is in a different state, Merle and Patricia announced that they would be staying in Red Bud, as the couple had already happily spent their entire lives there. Nevertheless, their Florida home, equipped with a beautiful view and many other luxuries, will make a great vacation getaway for the couple as well as their children and grandchildren.


Lottery winners Merle and Patricia Butler had only been retired five years when the couple stumbled into their Mega Millions. Merle was a computer analyst in the insurance industry, while Patricia was a programmer and analyst for popular investment company Edward Jones.

As lifelong residents of the small town of Red Bud, Illinois, the two were well-known and loved within their community. After coming forward with their winning ticket, they received plenty of genuine congratulations from other Red Bud locals who could only describe the couple as deserving of their win. With two children and several grandchildren to look out for, the pair was more than excited about their newfound fortune. Still, they maintained their privacy and have steered clear of the public eye since they claimed their prize.


Merle and Patricia Butler’s story teaches us that dreams can become reality. After all, the two stumbled into a $218 million win just after retiring years prior—and nothing fuels dream retirement plans quite like winning the lottery! If their Sarasota vacation home is any indication, this couple is living luxuriously and enjoying their retirement to the fullest.

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