Former Local man becomes a millionaire in Atlantic City


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BY ANN GENADER

WEST MILFORD - Harold “Red” McDowell, 85, once well known in the West Milford/Ringwood area, made national headlines over the past weekend in Atlantic City when he won $1 million on a $5 bet.

The Butler High School graduate in the Class of 1951, lived in West Milford for a time, and now lives in retirement in Lakewood with his second wife Helen. McDowell’s first wife, the former Alice Cahill, is deceased.

McDowell is a former Ringwood Public Works Director and also worked for the Township of West Milford during the 1960s.

“Our lives will probably be the same,” McDowell was quoted as telling reporters. “But, it might be better for our children.”

He said a relaxing vacation – maybe a cruise – might be in his future cards.

He thinks his big win might be attributed to the “Luck of the Irish.”

The McDowells recently had good news about his wife Helen, a retired banker, getting a clear bill of health after battling liver and colon cancer.

The couple was gamboling at the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City when McDowell put down his $5 bet on a six card bonus in Three Card Poker. He had been dealt a queen and the ace of diamonds. When the dealer flopped down a 9, jack and king of diamonds McDowell was amazed to see a royal straight flush of diamonds.

Casino experts said this hand had a 1 to 20 million odds. Helen was playing next to him and when he told her his news she did not believe him. He’s known for kidding around sometimes so apparently she thought he was joking.

When realization came to them about what had happened they were startled and Helen had some tears. Her victory over cancer still remains their most precious gift. McDowell, grateful over that commented that money is not the most important thing.

Remembered locally as a kind, fun loving person, he generously tipped workers at the casino, which took at least $200,000 in taxes after the big win. Reports said the couple said they plan to give most of the winnings to their children.



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