Weekly editor is talked out of quitting after husband wins $2.7M in California lottery

Monterey County Weekly editor Mary Duan sent me an email Wednesday about Gannett’s Salinas Californian going to a thrice-weekly print schedule and announcing that “we’re going all in on digital.”

In our message exchange, Duan mentioned that “my husband won $2.7m in the California lottery in May.”

Whoa! Why are you still working? Have you written about this? I asked. She responded:

“Here’s a piece my managing editor did while I was on vacay, absorbing the news. Here’s the piece I did when I came back.” Duan wrote:

I told [publisher Erik] Cushman about the win and maybe not-so-gently suggested he start shopping for my replacement while I was on vacation.

To keep a long story short, they [the publisher and the CEO] talked me out of it. I’m still here. And I think some new and exciting things are going to be happening.

What Duan and husband Chuck Messenger, both 47, are going to do with money:

Pay for our kids’ college. [They have two sons, 17 and 21.] Finish the flooring and put baseboards in the big stupid Victorian we’ve been working on for the past five years. Replace that damn piece of tile in the kitchen that’s been broken for about six months.

Give to a few local charities we like, ones that focus on feeding the poor and giving shelter to the homeless. Give to our old church in Berkeley, which provides sanctuary to political refugees from Central America … But we’re going to bank most of it, because it means we can both retire someday.

Duan tells Romenesko readers that “most everyone’s been really cool about it. When they say ‘It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy,’ in reference to my husband, it’s true. He’s the most fundamentally decent person most of us know. Me? I’m kind of an asshole.”

* Duan: Thoughts about winning the lottery (montereycountyweekly.com)
* Salinas man wins $27M in lottery before Las Vegas trip (montereyherald.com)

New: Is $2.7M quit-work money or retirement nest-egg money? (facebook.com)