Man Tells Family He Won $40M Back in May - and that He's Giving it All Away

James Beattie
By James Beattie | December 17, 2013 | 9:55 AM EST

Tom Crist, a former electric CEO from Calgary, Alberta, hit a $40 million lottery jackpot last May, but revealed Monday that he is giving away all of the money to charity.  Crist says he is doing it to honor his late wife, who died of cancer in February 2012.  She was 57.

Crist, with the help of his adult children - who didn't find out about the $40 million bonanza until yesterday - plans to set up a trust to give the $40 million winnings to several charities.  While he has yet not chosen the charities, one will be the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, for treating her wife.  Crist's wife fought cancer before dying in 2012.

"Tom Baker will be one of them because they treated her," Crist told the Calgary Herald.

"It's just going to unfold next year, so we'll decide as a family what we're going to do and how we're going to do it," he continued.

Crist, who retired as CEO from Calgary based EECOL Electric in 2012, received notice about the winnings in May while golfing in Palm Springs.  He was momentarily "speechless," but knew he wouldn't be keeping the money.

"I'm fortunate enough that I've done well for myself ... financially.  I don't really need that money."

Crist told CBC News he hoped to avoid the media fanfare that goes along with a big lottery windfall, but that wasn't to be.

"When you buy a ticket you're subject to the rules of the lottery and that's a picture and a notification, especially if it's a big win."  The former electronics CEO decided take his photo with a baseball hat and sunglasses.  "They asked me, 'Is that you're natural look?' and I said 'Yep. That's all you're getting,'" he laughed.