RIP Dorothy Hofert Letterman Mengering, aka “Dave’s Mom”

Dorothy Hofert Letterman Mengering was 72 when she first began appearing on her son’s late-night television show, and delighted millions in the 1990s with her reports from the Olympics, her pies from the kitchen and her advice for her son.

Mengering died Tuesday peacefully at home, a day before David Letterman’s 70th birthday. Dave’s Mom was 95.

Her three children, Jan, Gretchen and David, wrote her obituary in the local paper, The Indianapolis Star. Here’s an excerpt about her experiences in public that we saw:

Perhaps the Mengerings’ most memorable travels were the result of “Dave’s Mom” becoming a huge hit on television. She covered the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, Nagano, Japan and Utah. Her assignments included landing interviews with big-name athletes and spectators. One spectator, Hillary Clinton, commiserated about her husband’s and Dorothy’s son both having “lead feet” that caused them to get speeding tickets.The Mengerings were guests at the White House with the Olympians.

In addition to the Olympics, Dorothy Letterman Mengering appeared regularly on “Late Show with David Letterman,” remotely from her Carmel kitchen where she made David try to guess what kinds of pies she had baked for Thanksgiving. He did not often guess correctly, but the bit always revealed beautiful homemade desserts. She also appeared many times on Mother’s Day and her birthday, deadpanning Top 10 Lists that often made good fun of her son.

She and husband Hans belonged to the Kiwanis Club, for which sales of her cookbook, “Home Cookin’ With Dave’s Mom,” helped raise a significant amount of money for the Kiwanis’ international effort to end iodine deficiency in children of third-world countries.

And here was David Letterman paying tribute to his mother on the final Mother’s Day episode before Letterman retired from The Late Show on CBS in 2015.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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