MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A retired elementary school principal is New York’s biggest jackpot winner.

Harold Diamond, 80, of Wurtsboro is the sole winner of the $326 million Mega Millions jackpot drawn on Nov. 4, lottery officials revealed Monday.

Diamond picked up his ceremonial check at the Valero gas station on Route 302 in Middletown, where he bought the winning ticket.

He credits his wife for their new fortune.

“My wife and I were driving to Middletown for dinner after voting on Election Day but the weather made us rethink our plans,” Diamond said. “My wife insisted we stop here to eat and wait for the weather to clear, and I reluctantly agreed.”

Diamond noticed a sign for the Mega Millions drawing and decided to spend $10 on 10 sets of Quick Pick numbers.

“I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it,” Diamond said. “I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302 and I thought, wait a minute – I bought a ticket there last night!”

He is taking the lump sum payment of $197 million before taxes and will collect about $130 million after withholdings.

“I simply can’t envision that kind of money,” Diamond said. “It’s very hard to fathom. We feel very blessed.”

Harold told CBS2’s Lou Young that he and his wife read the number half a dozen times before they believed it.

“I was like in a daze. I was looking at the numbers and I kept calling to Carol upstairs have them read backwards, and she read them backwards, and then forward, and it’s just hard to fathom that kind of money,” he said.

Diamond and his wife will now head to Hawaii to celebrate their 55th anniversary and then try to decide what to do with the money, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

The former principal retired 20-years-ago, but is well known among former students and neighbors.

“I’ve known him my whole life. he’s a good guy, and he’ll do great things with it I believe,” neighbor and former student Brendan Moore.

The Diamonds are now the only family in their Wurtsboro neighborhood with full-time security. They have 2 grown children, 2 grandchildren, and he is a Jets fan, so his luck is not always good.

Not everyone is convinced the windfall is a godsend.

“I’m happy and sad, because it’s a hassle, you know what I mean. I feel it’s a hassle. It changes your life,” Colleen Davidson said.

“I worry about people harassing him, and you know that always happens,” Phyllis Buchman said.

Diamond said he bought a quick pick ticket and let the machine pick the winning numbers. It wasn’t his first lottery win. The previous prize was a little smaller, coming in at $33.

Lottery officials said preliminary plans include helping his family and giving back to the local community.

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