BUXTON, Maine -- Erwin Wales, who with his wife created a charitable foundation after winning a $41.1 million lottery jackpot, died Wednesday following an illness. He was 75.
Mr. Wales and his wife, Patricia, won the money in 2001 in the multistate Powerball lottery. Despite the riches, he changed little in his life, continuing to tinker under the hoods of old automobiles and involve himself in the community.
Two weeks after winning, Mr. Wales and his wife gave $100,000 to the Buxton Fire Department and committed $5 million in seed money to the Narragansett Number One Foundation.
The foundation has awarded hundreds of grants to churches, schools, children's charities, and other nonprofit organizations in southern Maine, with most awards going to groups in the Buxton area.
The Narrangansett Number One Foundation disburses 5 percent of its assets each year and invests the rest to preserve capital and provide for its continuation.
Friends and family members said Mr. Wales will be remembered for his philanthropy and his consistency of character.
"He was very grateful that this happened to him," said his sister, Marilyn Osmond of Raymond. "He wanted to share it with other people."
Mr. Wales was born on Long Island, N.Y. He graduated from Windham High School and served in the Korean War.
In August 2001, he was doing odd jobs and his wife was working at Lincoln Financial Group in Portland when they bought a winning ticket for a $295 million Powerball jackpot, which was then the second-largest Powerball payout.
Their take for the Wales, after taxes and splitting the winnings with other winners, was about $24 million.