Bombeck, Erma

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Bombeck, Erma Gender: F
born on 21 February 1927 at 04:40 (= 04:40 AM )
Place Dayton, Ohio, 39n46, 84w12
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Wilsons
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 01°49' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 23°49 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 25°30'

Portrait of Erma Bombeck 
(click to view image source)
Erma Bombeck
photo: unknown, license fair-use


American journalist and humorist, the author of 11 books and a column read by millions in 700 cities. Her books include "The Grass is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank," "If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?" and "A Marriage Made in Heaven... Or Too Tired For An Affair."

A newspaper reporter before she quit work to care for a husband and three kids, she began writing a humor column in 1964 and was syndicated the following year. With a mischievous smile and an exuberance of spirit, Bombeck knew that she wanted to be a humor writer from the age of 14.

Her mom was 16 when Erma was born and they were lifelong best friends. A bright student, Erma was also a good dancer and blues singer. Devastated by her dad's death when she was nine, she withdrew for a while and lost weight. Two years later she had a new step dad, a feed-store clerk named Tom Harris. She resented him at first, but they became close pals.

Erma started a school paper and worked after school as a copy clerk at the local paper. It was there she met and fell in love with a fellow copy clerk, Bill Bombeck from the minute they met. Bill was drafted and left for Korea, but they exchanged letters. He mustered out in 1947 and entered the University. They married in 1949 and he taught high school history while she polished her writing skills on obits and features at the paper. In 1953 she quit to stay home with Betsy, whom they adopted when she failed to get pregnant. She gave birth to Andrew in 1955 and Matthew three years later. She and Bill, who became a high school administrator, were married for 46 years.

Her sense of humor, irrepressible, spilled out in her daily life with tossing off wry domestic quips, such as "Housework, if you do it right, will kill you," and "Why clean the oven? If you can still get a cupcake in there without touching the sides, you're in good shape."

When her youngest was in school, Erma began writing a column, "At Wit's End," about home life in suburbia, for the Dayton Journal Herald. With a year she was syndicated across the country. Her popularity skyrocketed with her books and the family moved to Paradise Valley, CA in 1971, a rural, mountainous community.

Her celebrity increased with the years. She did humor segments on "Good Morning America" from 1975 to 1986 and 11 of her books became bestsellers. She kept her fame in perspective as only one who can laugh about herself is able. She contributed to numerous charities including the American Cancer Society. She kept the same friends for years and never put on airs.

In 1992, Bombeck had a double mastectomy for breast cancer. The following year in July, she suffered total kidney failure, which required her to undergo dialysis four times a day while waiting for a transplant. In addition, she hooked herself up to an I.V. bag for a ten-minute peritoneal dialysis treatment every day.

The life-saving kidney transplant came through on 4/03/1996. She died in less than a month after the operation, on 4/22/1996, 3:27 AM, San Francisco. A selection of her columns, which were being syndicated in 600 newspapers by the time she died, was published in a book called "Forever, Erma," which became a bestseller.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Death of Father 1936 (Age nine when dad died)
  • Misc. : Great Insight 1941 (Age 14, knew she wanted to write humor)
  • Family : Adopted a child 1949 (Daughter Betsy)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1949 (Bill Bombeck)
  • Work : New Job 1964 (Humor columnist)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1965 (Syndicated)
  • Family : Change residence 1971 (Moved to rural community)
  • Health : Medical procedure 1992 (Double mastectomy, cancer)
  • Health : Violent trauma July 1993 (Total kidney failure)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Health : Medical procedure 3 April 1996 (Kidney transplant)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 22 April 1996 (Kidney failure, age 69)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

B.C. in hand from the Wilsons


  • Traits : Personality : Active (Enthusiastic)
  • Traits : Personality : Gracious/ sociable
  • Traits : Personality : Humorous, Witty (Exceptional sense of humor)
  • Traits : Personality : Loved by all (For her humor, and for her character)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Breast)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Kidney (Complete failure)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Surgery (Double mastectomy, kidney transplant)
  • Family : Childhood : Memories Good (Lifelong best friends with mom)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (40 years+)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
  • Family : Parenting : Birthing - Miscarriages (One, age 40)
  • Family : Parenting : Foster, Step, or Adopted Kids (One daughter)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Three, one adopted)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Financial success in field (Wrote 11 best sellers)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Philanthropist (Donated to charities)
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist
  • Vocation : Writers : Humor
  • Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Creativity (Creative view, humor)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection