Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)
-- Syndicated humor columnist from Dayton

  Dayton native Erma Bombeck began writing a humor column for the Dayton Journal in 1965. Within weeks she was syndicated.
  She also wrote several books and was a regular on "Good Morning America."
    Mrs. Bombeck suffered from kidney disease and had a transplant in April 1996. However, she died of complications related to that surgery on April 22, 1996.

AP Photo
FULL NAME: Erma Louise Fiste Bombeck
BORN: Feb. 21, 1927 Dayton, Ohio
PARENTS: Cassius Edwin Fiste and Erma (Fiste) Harris
FAMILY: married William Lawrence Bombeck, Aug. 13, 1949; children: Betsy, Andrew, Matthew.
graduated fromEmerson Junior High School and Patterson Vocational High School in Dayton; briefly attended Ohio University and then enrolled at University of Dayton, where she graduated in 1949 with a degree in English.
She also held 15 hon. degrees
columnist, Universal Press Syndicate, Kansas City, Mo., 1988-
columnist, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 1985-88
columnist, Pubs.-Hall Syndicate (now N.Am. Syndicate), 1970-85
columnist, Newsday Syndicate, 1965-70
contbg. editor: Good Housekeeping mag., 1969-74.
Three weeks after it was first published in Dayton,the column was picked up by the Newsday Newspaper Syndicate and was reprinted in 38 newspapers. Within five years it appeared in 500 papers. At it's peak, her column appeared in 900 newspapers with an estimated total readership of 30 million.
Author: At Wit's End, 1967, Just Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own, 1971, I Lost Everything In The Post-Natal Depression, 1974, The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, 1976, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?, 1978, Aunt Erma's Cope Book, 1979, Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession, 1983, Family: The Ties That Bind... and Gag!, 1987, I Want To Grow Hair, I Want To Grow Up, I Want To Go To Boise, 1989, When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time To Go Home, 1991, A Marriage Made in Heaven... or Too Tired for an Affair, 1993.


  • Feb. 21, 1927 - Erma Louise Fiste born in Dayton.
  • 1944 - Worked at the Dayton Journal as a copy girl.
  • 1949 - Graduated from University of Dayton and went to work at the Journal Herald , writing obituaries and women's page stories.
  • Aug. 13, 1949 - Erma Fiste marries William Lawrence Bombeck, a former JH sportswriter and school teacher.
  • 1953 - Quit her job after her first child, Betsy, was adopted. Later has two other children: Andrew and Matthew.
  • 1964 - Begins writing a humor column for the Kettering-Oakwood Times.
  • 1965 - Hired by the Journal Herald to write two columns a week. Within weeksher column is syndicated.
  • 1967 - Publishes her first book, At Wit's End . She went on to write many others.
  • 1971 - Moves from Dayton area to Paradise Valley, Ariz.
  • 1992 - Diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoes modified radical mastectomy.
  • July 1993 - Erma goes on dialysis after her kidneys stop functioning as a result of polycystic kidney disease.
  • June 1995 - Undergoes surgery to remove one of her non-functioning kidneys.
  • April 3, 1996 - Has kidney transplant.
  • April 22, 1996 - Dies from complications following transplant.

    File created: 5-10-96
    DDN: 4-5-96 "Bombeck gets new kidney"
    DDN: 4-23-96 "Erma Bombeck 1927-1996; writer got her start in Dayton"
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