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Old 01-03-2008, 01:59 PM
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TRFrance TRFrance is offline
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The Fascinating But Sad Story of Billie Bob Harrell

I read this story several years back, and ran across it again recently. I just found it to be a fascinating read, and wanted to share it with others who may not have read of heard of it. I don't know if it's been posted on this site previously, so pardon me if it has been.

It's the story of an Apostolic brother whose life took a sad turn after winning the lottery. Its a bit long, so I've just included the first part of it here. The full story can be found at this link -->
Billy Bob's Misfortune

Billie Bob's (Mis) Fortune

Less than two years after Billie Bob Harrell Jr. took the $31 million lottery jackpot, he took his own life

By Steve McVicker

Published: February 10, 2000

Many have the same dream: finding the six magical numbers that unlock the treasure known as the Texas Lottery. Then life would be good. Problems would vanish. There are even the collective fantasies of what to buy and with whom to share this new, instant wealth.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr. shared those common visions by common souls seeking the salvation of sudden fortune.And in June 1997, he found it.

He sat in his easy chair one evening and looked at his Quick Pick and then at the Sunday newspaper. Harrell studied the sequence of numbers again and began to realize the wildest of notions. He and wife Barbara Jean held the only winning ticket to a Lotto Texas jackpot of $31 million.

  • Harrell gave a tithe, 10 percent of his first lottery check, to Calvary Tabernacle Pentecostal Church.
  • Ben (foreground) and the other Harrell children wonder where their father's money went.
  • Tina and Billie Bob Harrell Sr. refuse to believe their son killed himself.
  • Guy Hargrove, Harrell's minister, traveled with the family when they claimed the jackpot.
Harrell, a deeply religious man, knew he had a godsend from heaven. After being laid off from a couple of jobs in the past few years, Billie Bob had been reduced to stocking the electrical-supply shelves of a Home Depot in northeast Harris County. He was having a ........ hard time providing for himself and Barbara Jean, much less for their three teenage children.


Every Wednesday and Saturday those kids were on his mind when he'd scrape together a few spare dollars to purchase a couple or so lottery tickets. Sometimes he'd use the sequence of his children's birth dates to choose his numbers. Other times he'd let the state's computer do his choosing for him. That random selection finally paid off, transforming Harrell into a millionaire overnight on a warm evening in June.


The hard times were history when he arrived in Austin about a month later, with an entourage that included his family, his minister and his attorneys, to collect the first of 25 annual checks for $1.24 million.


Life had been tough, he said at the formal lottery ceremony, but he had persevered through the worst of it.


"I wasn't going to give up," said Harrell, then 47. "Everyone kept telling me it would get better. I didn't realize it would get this much better."


In fact, it was great. At least for a while. Harrell purchased a ranch. He bought a half-dozen homes for himself and other family members. He, his wife and all the kids got new automobiles. He made large contributions to his church. If members of the congregation needed help, Billie Bob was there with cash.


Then suddenly Harrell discovered that his life was unraveling almost as quickly as it had come together. He relished the role of being an easy touch. But everyone, it seemed -- family, friends, fellow worshipers and strangers -- was putting the touch on him. His spending and his lending spiraled out of control. In February those tensions splintered his already strained marriage.


And on May 22, 1999, 20 months after hitting lottery pay dirt, Harrell locked himself inside an upstairs bedroom of his fashionable Kingwood home and stood at the point of no return. Investigators say he stripped away his clothes, pressed a shotgun barrel against his chest and fired.


Billie Bob Harrell was gone forever. So was the fortune, and even the family that had rejoiced with him when the shower of riches had first rained upon them. A schism has widened between the children and grandparents, who cannot even agree on whether Billie Bob took his own life. And an intrafamily war looms over the remnants of the fortune, which may not even be enough to pay estate taxes.


Perhaps the only thing not in dispute about his life and death is the jarring impact of money: It may not have caused his problems, but it certainly didn't solve them.


Shortly before his death, Harrell confided to a financial adviser: "Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me."


A name like "Billie Bob" easily conjures up images of beer-swilling good ol' Texas boys, but nothing was further from the truth for Harrell.


No-nonsense quests for wages and work brought his parents to the Houston area from Beaumont when he was 11. His father got a job as a pressman, working first for the Houston Chronicle and later for Gulf Printing. According to relatives, Billie Bob Jr. had few extracurricular interests even by high school. Instead, he spent most of his time with his family and at church -- much like he'd later do as an adult.


"Billie Bob's family was always his life," says Sharon Muldine, Harrell's only sibling, who now lives in Spring, north of Houston.


After graduating from Sam Houston High School, Harrell set his sights on the ministry. He enrolled at Texas Bible College in Houston with the intent of becoming a preacher of the Pentecostal religion, a faith in which the Harrell family is deeply rooted. At least a couple of Harrell's uncles were Pentecostal ministers.


(The Handbook of Denominations explains that Pentecostals take their name from the first Pentecost, which took place 50 days after Christ's resurrection. They believe the Holy Spirit enabled Christians then to speak in unknown languages, and that "the gift of tongues is regarded as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, itself requisite of full discipleship.")


Harrell, darkly handsome but stocky at five feet ten, served a short stint as an assistant pastor at an Aldine Pentecostal church. An uncle, Guy Broadway, was the head minister. When Broadway retired and was replaced by another minister, Harrell joined the Marines and served three years at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.
-----

Story continues here...



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Old 01-03-2008, 02:46 PM
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Having fought the casino industry for 20yrs in Ohio, and so far, by the grace of God, having won, this is exactly what the gambling industry produces far and wide......LOSERS of everything! So sad!!!
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:04 PM
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Michael Phelps Michael Phelps is offline
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Is he related to Jerry Harrell, who is, I believe, from Conroe?
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:16 PM
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TRFrance TRFrance is offline
Matthew 7:6


 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Phelps View Post
Is he related to Jerry Harrell, who is, I believe, from Conroe?
Not sure. The article mentions he had one sibling, Sharon Muldine, and had a couple of uncles who were preachers. But it doesn't give their names.
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:45 PM
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crakjak crakjak is offline
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If a person is dysfunctional, great wealth will produces GREAT dysfunction. That is why the scriptures bless the man that gains wealth little by little.

That is the example we have of Jesus' temptation by the devil, don't go thru the Father's path, take the easy way out.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:04 PM
RandyWayne RandyWayne is offline
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Whether it be from the lottery, inheritance, or even a great business plan which takes off like a rocket, sudden wealth can be the ultimate test of character -for the person who receives it and especially for the relatives/friends of said person!

This guy probably was a soft touch.... That is until a hundred hands were held out which will cause anyone, especially someone with a natural low self-esteem to say "these people only 'love me' for one reason", which about 90% of the time, is probably correct.

I have thought about myself in these circumstances (I can only hope) and have come to the realization that the WRONG thing to do is to start buying homes and cars for everyone you know, even if your winnings were a billion!
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:57 PM
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TRFrance TRFrance is offline
Matthew 7:6


 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWayne View Post
Whether it be from the lottery, inheritance, or even a great business plan which takes off like a rocket, sudden wealth can be the ultimate test of character -for the person who receives it and especially for the relatives/friends of said person!
Well said ...or as someone else put it simply: "If you want to see a man's true character, give him money!"



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Daniel 12:3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever.

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Old 01-04-2008, 07:31 PM
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Sister Alvear Sister Alvear is offline
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yes, I have seen many a person ruined by money...money is a good slave but a poor master.
I have seen many missionaries ruined by money...May the Lord help us all to be faithful stewards.
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:03 PM
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TRFrance TRFrance is offline
Matthew 7:6


 
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His story is on TV right now as we speak, on the E network.
Its on a show called "Curse of the Lottery"
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Daniel 12:3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever.

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Old 01-05-2008, 03:05 PM
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TRFrance TRFrance is offline
Matthew 7:6


 
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On TV right now ... Billy Bob Harrell's story

His story is on TV right now as we speak, on the E network.
Its on a show called "Curse of the Lottery"

He's the person I referred to on a previous thread " The Fascinating But Sad Story of Billie Bob Harrell"
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Daniel 12:3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever.

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