Biography of Homer Ward Bomgardner
Homer Ward Bomgardner is one of Topeka’s leading business men, and is also active in civic affairs and a prominent Sunday school worker.
Much of his life has been spent in Kansas. He was born at Canal Dover, Ohio, February 1, 1865, a son of Benjamin F. and Mary (Ward) Bomgardner, his father being of Swiss ancestry. Reared in Ohio where he obtained an education in the high schools and academies, in January, 1884, Mr. Bomgardner came to Kansas, locating in Smith County, and for seven years was a teacher in the public schools of this state. During that time he continued his efforts toward securing a better education, and practically all his savings were invested in school attendance. In Kansas he was a student at Gould College at Harlan, but in 1891 removed to Topeka and for about ten years was employed in the auditing department of the Santa Fe Railway Company.
A permanent direction to his career was given when he started out on the road, traveling over the Central states selling the Bomgardner lowering device, a device used for lowering the casket from the surface to the bottom of the grave. This device was invented by his brother, Joseph Bomgardner. From 1905 to 1907 Mr. Bomgardner worked as a bookkeeper in the Bank of Topeka, but on the 15th of July, 1907, embarked in the undertaking business, at which he has now been engaged nearly ten years. It was while traveling on the road that he met a large number of undertakers and lecturers on embalming, and it was after much study, practical experience, and a widely extended acquaintance that he began the business for himself at Topeka, for which he is unusually well qualified.
Mr. Bomgardner is a republican and is now serving as precinct committeeman. He also belongs to the Topeka Commercial Club and the Rotary Club, is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite and Knights Templar York Rite Mason, belongs to the Temple of the Mystic Shrine and to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He and his wife are both Presbyterians, he has served as superintendent of the Sunday school, and has been closely and helpfully identified with the city training school for Sunday school workers. He was also chairman of the local committee that managed the preparations for the notable jubilee Sunday school convention in May, 1915, and he also collected and managed the impressive Sunday school exhibit at the Topeka State Fair.
On November 25, 1888, Mr. Bomgardner married Cornie H. Rider, of Harlan, Kansas. Their three living children are Ruth, Lucile and Ralph Ward.