Side A: Erma Fiste was born in Dayton on February 21, 1927. While attending Patterson Cooperative High School, she worked as a copygirl for the Dayton Herald. After graduating from the University of Dayton in 1949, she married Bill Bombeck. She returned to the Dayton Journal-Herald as a reporter. Four years later she left the paper to raise three children, Betsy, Andy and Matt. She continued to write part-time from home. In 1965, Glenn Thompson of the Dayton Journal-Herald spotted her column in the Kettering-Oakwood Times and offered her a twice-a-week column. After three weeks he brought it to the attention of Newsday Syndicate. “At Wit’s End” grew to become nationally syndicated in over 900 newspapers. Erma wrote twelve books; nine made The New York Times Best Sellers List. In 1975 she joined the original cast of “Good Morning America” on ABC-TV and appeared regularly for eleven years.
Side B: Erma was still writing her column for Universal Press Syndicate and developing a new book for HarperCollins Publishers when she died from complications of a kidney transplant on April 22, 1996. At her memorial service, friend and fellow journalist Phil Donahue said, “We shall never see the likes of her again. We shall never know again her brilliance, her insight and especially her generosity…She was real and she brought us all down to earth – gently, generously, and with brilliant humor. She is a twentieth-century political figure, and when the scholars gather hundreds of years from now to learn about us, they can’t know it all if they don’t read Erma…She will live forever.”
Location: University of Dayton, N side of St, Mary’s Hall, between Hall and parking lot