Categories: Schenectady County
When all was said and done, Johnstown firefighter Mary Ann Mowrey didn’t take home $1 million. But $16,000 from the TV game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” will go a long way toward a new greenhouse and other improvements on her raspberry farm.
She brought pizza and soda to the fire station Wednesday and watched along with colleagues as she successfully fielded a question on eggs to double the $8,000 she won the previous day.
But when it came time to try for $25,000, Mowrey, who had one lifeline left, was stumped.
And her friend Peter couldn’t help identify the author of the “Rabbit” novels, either. So she quit while she was ahead. It was all over in about five minutes.
“That was it,” she told the gathering. “I had no idea.”
Still talking to Peter?
“Oh, yeah!” she said to hearty laughter.
For the record, the question’s answer is John Updike.
“I ran out of options, which is fine. It was all worth a trip to New York,” Mowrey said.
There was a lot of good-natured ribbing going on before and during the broadcast.
Asked if anyone wanted to comment for the record on their TV-star colleague, there were few takers.
“You should have been here yesterday if you wanted some comments,” one said.
“Yeah, when she wasn’t here,” firefighter Steve Maxon quipped.
A lot of the chatter was speculation about the amount of her winnings.
“We have to see how much we can borrow,” Maxon said.
“By the way, were any of you on her list of smart people she could call?” inquired Assistant Chief Mitch Zelich.
“I could have called and there’d be nobody here,” Mowrey said, doing her best to be diplomatic.
“If there was an ice cream question, Kevin’s it,” Zelich said, ribbing firefighter Kevin Hale.
Mowrey traveled to New York for the taping Sept. 12. “They tape like five shows a day,” she said, a year’s worth from July through December.
Asked if she was worried about how she’d look on television, Mowrey said it didn’t turn out as bad as she thought.
“I was OK; I can live with it. It’s not something I’m used to, that’s for sure,” she said.
Mowrey said she plans to use the prize money to expand her raspberry farm, adding more and different kinds of berry bushes, and to build another greenhouse for tomatoes.
Mowrey is the city’s first and only female firefighter and has been on the job for 15 years. She’s a 1978 graduate of Johnstown High School.