Let’s admit it, we bought lottery tickets at least once in our lives hoping to win big and eventually solve our woes. We’ve heard all the horror stories of lottery winners who splurged on all the wrong things and ended up where they started. But the story of the Stocklas brothers is something else.
Two brothers, James and Bob Stocklas won the Powerball Lottery on the same day in 2016. They won a combined amount of about $291,000,000. They’re not famous for the size of their prize but for their story after winning it.
How Much Did Each Brother Get?
In March 4, 2016 James and Bob Stocklas won the Powerball Lottery. James won about $291 million while Bob won $7. While this may seem quite unfortunate for Bob, their bond as brothers were more than just money. (Source: Lottery Critic)
What was the Story Behind the Wins?
James Stocklas was 67 at the time he won the lottery. He was a senior district judge in Pennsylvania. He bought the lotto ticket with his brother Bob on their way home from a fishing trip in the Florida Keys. The plan was to stop by a Tom Thumb store to buy ice for their catch, but they ended up buying a $10 ticket too.
While James was having breakfast at a diner with his friend Anna, he check the lottery numbers and started celebrating. He was the sole winner of the $291 million jackpot.
Bob, won the same lottery but with a minor prize of $7. (Source: Lottery Critic)
Why Did The Brothers Become Internet Famous?
If you have heard of these brothers back when their photos got viral, chances are you’d think they had a bitter sibling rivalry because of the memes that have spread. But the fact of the matter is, the bothers had a great relationship and there was no rivalry between them.
In an interview with the Lehigh Valley Live, James shared a story about how the brothers planned to use the money if they ever won the lottery, this supposedly happened when they were really young and struggling. In another interview with New York Daily Post, James said that his priority was family and that his brother Bob wouldn’t need to worry about anything. (Source: Lottery Critic)
What Did They Do With the Winnings?
James is very family oriented, aside from helping out Bob, he used the money he won to make his disabled son’s home more comfortable by making it handicapped-accessible. He also supported his daughter and her family. James also donated some of his winnings to charities and organizations. He humbly went back to work as the district judge despite his big win. (Source: Lottery Critic)
What Was Their Childhood Like?
The bothers grew up in poverty. They lived in the Bethlehem Housing Authority’s Housing Development. Their father worked for Bethlehem Steel and their mother was a housewife. There were three of them originally, but their bother died while serving in the Vietnam War.
We grew up poor. There were coal bins, very small houses, a metal shower. There was no bathtub or anything like that. Hot water was heated by coal.James Stocklas
They eventually moved to a ranch in Lower Nazareth Township, but they struggled a lot more during the time since their father went on strike against the Bethlehem Steel company. They lived off potatoes for quite a long time that James jokes about being able to make any kind of dish with a potato.
Because of the hardships they had to face, the brothers made an extra effort to get to where they are today. (Source: Penn Live)