Andrew Jackson ‘‘Jack’’ Whittaker Jr. of Putnam County won what was then the largest single lottery jackpot in history. The contractor, already wealthy from his businesses, won $314.9 million in the Powerball lottery on Christmas Day 2002. Whittaker, who was born October 9, 1947, chose to take the cash option and netted $113,386,407.77.
Whittaker gave substantially to charity from his lottery winnings, benefiting Church of God congregations in Putnam and Summers counties, among other groups. He established the Jack Whittaker Foundation to manage his charitable giving.
Following his winning of the Powerball jackpot, Whitaker received much unwanted attention, and personal troubles culminated in the death of his granddaughter. In 2003, he was temporarily robbed of $545,000 outside a Charleston-area dance club. The theft was the first of several involving Whittaker’s vehicles, office, and house in Scott Depot. Problems afflicted Whittaker, including legal charges and arrests. He was the target of lawsuits.
In an interview a year after winning the jackpot, Whittaker said, ‘‘If I had to do it all over, I’d be more secluded about it. I’d do the same things, but I’d be a little more quiet.’’
Last Revised on November 19, 2010
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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Jack Whittaker." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 19 November 2010. Web. 22 May 2015.