It took Jeff and Christine Pintuff of Wilton more than a month to come forward earlier this year to claim the first Powerball top jackpot won in New York state.
The ticket was purchased at the Stewart’s Shop at Route 50 and Jones Road in Wilton two days before Christmas. It wasn’t until Feb. 11 that the Pintuffs were introduced as winners of the $48.8 million jackpot.
Christine, who was a registered nurse at Saratoga Hospital for eight years, and Jeff, a quality assurance expert with Atlas Copco in Voorheesville, both retired early and started planning their first extended vacation since 1996.
The wonderful good fortune was followed by deep sadness late last week when Christine Pintuff died at 59 after a brief battle with cancer.
Her death Thursday came just three days before the Pintuffs’ 30th wedding anniversary, said Dan Warren, owner of Tunison Funeral Home in Saratoga Springs.
“She was able to see her son be married,” Warren said about the Sept. 30 marriage of her son, Stephen.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” said Tom Mailey, a spokesman for Stewart’s Shops. “We were sorry to hear the news. They are very nice people.”
Mailey and other Stewart’s representatives met the Pintuffs during a New York Lottery ceremony announcing the couple as winners.
Mailey said Christine and Jeff Pintuff were very private people who didn’t relish the limelight that comes along with winning a large lottery jackpot.
Powerball lottery tickets are sold in 42 states. Odds of winning the first prize are one in 195 million, according to New York Lottery officials.
There were rumors and discussion about who won the Powerball jackpot right from the time it was announced that the Dec. 25 winning ticket was sold at the Stewart’s Shop in Wilton.
Reporters called the shop manager and Stewart’s officials, asking when the winner would be announced. The suspense built as days turned into weeks.
Finally, the New York Lottery, which administers the Powerball lottery in this state, announced that the first two Powerball winners in the state would be announced Feb. 11 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
At the ceremony, Jeff Pintuff said he and his wife would finally be able to take a real vacation and go “pretty much wherever we want.”
“I put the ticket on the fridge under a magnet like I always do,” he said at the ceremony. He said he never gave the ticket a second thought until the morning after the drawing. The jackpot netted the couple more than $18 million after taxes.
Christine Pintuff was born in Northampton, Mass., in 1952. She was a 1975 graduate of a licensed practical nursing program in Northampton and worked as an LPN for 20 years before going back to school and earning her registered nurse degree, magna cum laude, at Adirondack Community College in 2000.
She worked at Saratoga Hospital as a registered nurse until her retirement earlier this year.
Chris and Jeff married Oct. 30, 1980, after meeting in Cape Cod. They loved the Cape and Chris, an avid reader, loved to sit on the beach and read or walk the sand with her husband, according to her obituary.
She is survived by her husband, a son and a daughter, two grandchildren, and three sisters. Calling hours will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Tunison Funeral Home at 105 Lake Ave. in Saratoga Springs. A memorial service will follow the calling hours with burial that day at St. Peter’s Cemetery.
The Pintuff family requests, in lieu of flowers, that donations in Christine’s memory be made to the Saratoga Hospital Foundation.
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