INDIANAPOLIS — Dorothy Mengering, an Indianapolis church secretary who found unexpected fame as a correspondent on her son’s late-night TV show, died Tuesday at age 95.
David Letterman's mother died at home in suburban Carmel, according to an obituary compiled by Mengering's three children and provided by Letterman's publicist.
Late Show with David Letterman viewers warmed to Mengering's unassuming style when she served as a correspondent during Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway (1994), Nagano, Japan (1998) and Salt Lake City (2002).
She also delivered Top 10 Lists from her Indiana kitchen and challenged Letterman to guess what pies she had baked for Thanksgiving.
"As long as David was home, I would make him a chocolate chiffon pie for his birthday," Mengering told The Indianapolis Star in 2001, reminiscing about the comedian's childhood. "We just put the candles on top of the pie."
Before Letterman's Late Show retirement in May 2015, he shared a Mother's Day highlight reel starring Mengering. She was seen baking with Hoosier rock star John Mellencamp and touting the prowess of Old Milwaukee beer.
Born Dorothy Marie Hofert in Linton, Ind., on July 18, 1921, Mengering took business courses at Indiana University. She married Joe Letterman, a florist, in 1942.
The couple's three children, Jan, David and Gretchen, attended Broad Ripple High School. Joe Letterman died in 1973.
Mengering worked as a secretary at Second Presbyterian Church into the 1980s. She married Hans Mengering in 1983. He died in 2013.
She donated more than $100,000 from sales of a 1996 cookbook, Home Cookin' with Dave's Mom, to a Kiwanis International campaign to wipe out iodine deficiency disorders in developing countries.
In 2007, Mengering joined Letterman for dedication ceremonies of Ball State University's David Letterman Communication and Media Building in Muncie. "If reasonable people could put my name on a $21 million building, anything is possible," said Letterman, a 1969 BSU graduate.
Mengering is survived by her three children, five grandchildren and her sister, Hazel Baughman.
A memorial service is planned at Second Presbyterian Church. Details are pending.
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