Washington Woman Claims $500/Week/Life Lottery Prize

For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Lang (217) 524-5158

WASHINGTON, IL—Jan 25, 2012—Balancing a budget on a small, fixed income in never easy--as Sue Hockenbury of Washington can attest. Hockenbury, 66, has been living on modest, monthly social security benefits over the last two years. Thankfully, she has four children living in the area who freely contribute to their mom’s income when unexpected expenses arise. Now, thanks to winning a $500 A Week for Life Lottery prize, Hockenbury will be in a position to return the favor to her loving and supportive children and their families.

“The good Lord has been looking after me for many years—and still is,” said Hockenbury, who retired two years ago. An occasional Lottery player, Hockenbury said the most she ever won prior to the “Cash For Life” prize was $10. “I’m still having a hard time believing I won a prize like this,” she said. She is the third Peoria-area resident to date to claim a top prize in one of the Lottery’s “Cash For Life” instant games.

Hockenbury bought her winning ticket the Friday before New Year’s Eve. She wasn’t planning to buy a Lottery ticket when she went into “Fast Stop” on Peoria St in Washington. But, after finding a $1 bill in her pocket, she pointed to the $1 Cash For Life ticket and said, “give me one of those.” It turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life.

After returning home she sat down with a cup of re-warmed coffee and played the scratch game. “I kept saying to myself, ‘this can’t be right….But it was!” To confirm the win, Hockenbury took a short drive to her daughter Dawn’s home. When she walked in, Dawn and her husband, Paul, realized something was not quite normal with their mom/mother-in-law. “They kept asking me: are you sick; did you fall down; did you have an accident,” said Hockenbury. “’No,’ I said, ‘I won the Lottery!’”

After Sue, Dawn and Paul laughed and danced in celebration, they started telephoning Hockenbury’s other children, all of whom were at least somewhat skeptical when they first heard the news. Daughter Aundrea had good reason to be skeptical: a year or so earlier she received of a bogus “winning” instant lottery ticket from another family member. Consequently, it took Aundrea extra time to come around to the fact that her mom was indeed a big winner. Hockenbury’s other children--daughter, Tiffany; and son, Linden—embraced the good news a bit more quickly. Ultimately, the four children (and seven grandchildren) shared hugs and laughes with their mom—and with each other. Theirs is a loving family whose affection for one another was readily observable when most of the family traveled to Springfield in early January to assist Sue in claiming her prize.

Prior to retiring two years ago, Hockenbury worked for 18 years at the Washington Fire Department, followed by several years working for a medical doctor in Morton. Now, thanks to the Lottery win, she will have the time and resources to pursue some of her interests, including gardening. In claiming her prize, Hockenbury opted for a onetime payment of $380,000 (less state and federal withholding). She should receive her check in about three weeks.

When asked what she might do to treat herself, Hockenbury says it’s too soon to tell, but a new car may be in her future. “I’m just going to bide my time for now,” she said. Other Peoria-area Cash For Life winners to date include.

Wallace and Anneliese Gent of Pekin won $1,000 a Week for Life last June; and Wendy Rush of Eureka, who won $2,500 a Week for Life in September.

About Illinois Lottery


Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed $16.4 billion to the state Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as the Capital Projects Fund. Players must be at least 18 years old.


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