2:15 PM PDT, October 1, 2021
A 57-year-old Michigan man who won a $45,000 lottery jackpot died unexpectedly with his winning ticket in his wallet, officials said.
The man, identified as Gregory Jarvis, had drowned accidentally near his boat. His body was found on a private beach in Saginaw Bay last week, Caseville Police Chief Kyle Romzek told News12 WJRT-TV.
Dawn Talaski, the owner of the Blue Water Inn in Caseville, MI. told the news outlet that Jarvis had been at the Blue Water Inn on Sept. 13 when he won $45,000 playing Club Keno, a Michigan Lottery game. She said he was unable to collect his prize since he did not have a Social Security card, which is required, ABC News reported.
Before the tragedy, she said he had applied for a new card and had been waiting for it to arrive in the mail, the news outlet reported.
Jarvis was a regular at the inn and a “very nice guy,” according to Talaski. The last time he was at the bar was on September 19, when he was buying drinks for his friends. When she didn’t see him for a few days, she suspected something may be wrong, WJRT reported.
On Sept. 24, police were called when a body was found near a private beach. An autopsy confirmed that Jarvis had injuries consistent with hitting his head on the boat and drowning, and that foul play was not suspected, the news outlet reported.
“We are thinking that he was tying up his boat, slipped and fell, hit his head, and that’s where he ended up in the water,” Romzek said.
Talaski said Jarvis was planning to take the money and see his sister and his dad in North Carolina, WJRT reported.
According to his obituary, Jarvis was described as a “hardworking man” who was loved by many.
“He loved being counted on as he helped others. His many friends were like family to him. He loved fishing and a good fish fry with friends,” his family wrote. “A week prior to Greg’s death, he was lucky to win a Club Keno jackpot and he was in the process of claiming his earnings. His family and friends were elated by his good fortune and Greg felt the same…just to get the winning ticket was enough for him.”
The Michigan Lottery Commission confirms that winners of prizes of more than $600 have to provide photo identification and their official Social Security card to collect their winnings, WJRT News reported.
The winning ticket is now with Jarvis’ family.