On April 22, 1996, Dayton native Erma Bombeck - one of the most popular humorists in the world - died a month after receiving a kidney transplant.
She was born Erma Louise Harris in 1927. Her father's death when she was 9 impoverished the family. When 20, she was diagnosed with kidney disease. She graduated from the University of Dayton, where some told her she would never succeed as a writer.
She got a job reporting for the Dayton Journal-Herald in 1949. Bombeck quit five years later to start a family. In 1964, after her children reached school age, the 37-year-old homemaker persuaded the Kettering-Oakwood Times to let her write a column, "At Wit's End,'' for $3 a week. It was syndicated the following year. Over the next 30 years, she wrote more than 4,000 columns that ran in 900 newspapers worldwide. She also wrote 15 best-selling books.
- Rebecca Goodman
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