For most people, the mere idea of hitting the lottery would be enough to make 'em run through the streets, hollering at the top of their lungs like George Bailey at the end of "It's A Wonderful Life."

Because it would be pretty wonderful, finding out that you could live a life of ease, free of worrying about bills and making ends meet.

But for Larry Green — one of the 49 SEPTA employees who won a $107.5 million Powerball Jackpot last month — winning the big one was a little bittersweet.

The April 25 drawing came exactly a year and one day after his wife, Lupe, died.

Winning the lottery had been an impossible dream that they shared for years, long after they met at a dance club in the city.

"She always talked about us hitting the lottery," Green, a soft-spoken guy with white hair, said Friday, when he and some of his lucky colleagues shared their stories at SEPTA's Center City headquarters.

"My sister-in-law had a mass said for her on the day of the drawing," said Green, a Folcroft, Delaware County resident who's worked for more than three decades at the transit agency.

"I prayed to certain saints ... and after we won, I kept praying to those saints. And I said, 'Thank you.'"

For others, like Marylou Wagner, hitting the jackpot proved to be life-affirming.

Wagner, who lives in Essington, said she survived a battle with breast cancer several years ago only to find herself in the hospital again in January, when a benign mass was removed from her heart.

She returned to work on April 10, following a lengthy unpaid medical leave.

"I just want to give my message to everyone," Wagner said. "Don't ever give up, because you never know what's right around the corner."

The lottery-winners range in age from 26 to 69, from hourly employees to senior managers to some retired workers.

The jackpot could have been worth $172.7 million as a 30-year annuity, but the winners opted for a one-time cash payment, which will net them each $2.2 million before taxes, Pennsylvania Lottery officials said.

Many of the winners said they intend to continue working, including Bryant Vaders, who purchased 120 Powerball tickets — including the winning ticket — for the office pool from a newsstand at the Gallery.

Vaders said he and the co-organizer of the office pool, Pamela Schurgot, tried their luck at various lotto stands over the years, with little to show for their efforts aside from occasional small winnings — $100 here, $150 there.

When word started to spread through SEPTA's office on April 25 that the workers had won the third-largest jackpot in state history, Vaders said he initially didn't believe it.

Then he encountered a normally grumpy colleague who was grinning ear-to-ear. "That's how I knew we won," Vaders said.

Daniel DiSantis, who's worked at SEPTA for 42 years, said the jackpot is allowing him to end his lengthy career on a high note.

"When I look at the light at the end of the tunnel, it's no longer a regional rail coming at me. It's a way out," he said. "It's been a great 42-year career here."

Contact David Gambacorta at 215-954-5994, gambacd@phillynews.com or on Twitter @dgambacorta.