Updated at: 01/09/2013 11:07 PM
(AP) TACOMA, Wash. - Louise Bundy, who was a staunch defender of her serial killer son, Ted Bundy, before he made a series of death-row confessions, has died. She was 88.
She died last month in her hometown of Tacoma after a long illness, The News Tribune newspaper reported Wednesday ( http://is.gd/G8BVv7).
Her death was confirmed to The Associated Press by the Rev. Melvin Woodworth, pastor of Tacoma’s First United Methodist Church, which she attended from 1951 until a few years ago, when her health prevented her.
In the mid-1970s, Louise Bundy was a married mother of five working as a secretary at the University of Puget Sound when authorities across the nation began to accuse her eldest son in a series of gruesome killings.
For years, she refused to believe the charges.
"Ted Bundy does not go around killing women and little children!" she told The News Tribune in 1980 after Ted Bundy was convicted in the Florida killings. "And I know this, too, that our never-ending faith in Ted - our faith that he is innocent - has never wavered. And it never will."
Her stance softened after Ted Bundy made a number of death-row confessions, the newspaper reported.
He ultimately confessed to murdering more than two dozen women and was executed in 1989 after being convicted of killing two Florida State University sorority members and a 12-year-old girl.
Louise Bundy spoke with him twice on his execution day, telling him at the end of the second call, "You’ll always be my precious son."
Ted Bundy was among some of the notorious criminals who have been represented by Seattle lawyer John Henry Browne. He recalled Louise Bundy as "very quiet, very much concerned about her son."
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Browne said he hadn’t spoken with Louise Bundy in several decades but had flown to Florida with her several times after Bundy was arrested there.
"I do know her insistence on Ted’s innocence actually waned even before he started confessing, but her love for him certainly didn’t," Browne said.
Louise Bundy remained in Tacoma following her son’s execution and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church.
Her son’s troubles took a toll, the newspaper reported. Louise Bundy and her husband, John Bundy, endured jokes and dirty looks over the years and often changed their telephone number to avoid angry calls.
Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)