Monday September 11, 2006

Alumnus Ralph Hamberg Dies

University of Dayton alumnus Ralph Hamberg, who started an endowment for the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, died Sept. 8.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Holy Angels Church for Ralph Hamberg, a University of Dayton alumnus who helped start an endowment for UD's popular Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop that draws writers from around the nation.

Hamberg, 78, graduated from UD in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in marketing. The Spring Valley resident died Friday, Sept. 8.

In 2004, Hamberg and his wife, Cindy, made a gift to start an endowment for the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, held every other spring at Bombeck's alma mater. Cindy is Brother Tom Price's cousin. A UD English professor, Price encouraged Bombeck to write humorous essays for The Exponent, UD's student literary magazine.

"He said to me three magic words: 'You can write,"' Bombeck recalled in a 1991 interview. That encouragement helped launch the humorist's career. She went on to write a dozen best-selling books and more than 4,000 syndicated columns.

"Ralph and Cindy provided critical financial support for the writers' workshop. The endowment they created helps keep workshop registration fees reasonable, making it affordable to more writers," said Tim Bete, director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. "I last spoke to Ralph after the Dave Barry dinner at the March 2006 workshop. Ralph was beaming. He was very proud of his involvement with the writers' workshop and Brother Tom Price's connection with Erma. The 2008 workshop won't be the same without Ralph."

Hamberg is survived by his wife, Mary Lucinda "Cindy" (Price); a son and daughter-in-law, Barth and Mary Alice Hamberg of Sitka, Alaska.; two daughters and sons-in-law, Tracy and Doug Jones of Cincinnati, Cara and Greg Holdener of Belleville, Ill.; six grandchildren, Rachel Holdener, Megan Jones, Hannah Hamberg, Anna Holdener, Neil Jones and Daniel Jones; four sisters, Thelma Miller of Dayton, Lavine (Don) Wendelin of Kettering, Louella Meyer of Sidney, Joan (Maurice) Stammen of New Bremen; two brothers, Tom (Pat) Hamberg of Coldwater, Don (Patricia) Hamberg of The Woodlands, Texas; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1681.