Beloved Seattle TV Icon Passes Away

Rob Thielke, best known to Northwest viewers as “Vern Fonk” in the fonkVern Fonk Insurance TV commercials , passed away yesterday, August 16, after a battle with cancer.

Thielke starred as Vern Fonk for the past 24 years, becoming a local television icon and a beloved celebrity in the Seattle area and beyond.

His presence in the community and on television will be greatly missed. Look for a tribute to Thielke in the upcoming issue of Media Inc.

27 thoughts on “Beloved Seattle TV Icon Passes Away”

    1. Amen! Rob brought joy to sooooooo many people with his whit, crazy facial expressions and wonderful sense of humor. May the FONK be with him!! I will HONK each time I pass his old ofice.


    1. Though Rob Played the character ( known as Vern Fonk) he wasn’t really playing a personality. The real Vern Fonk ( and yes there was a real Vern Fonk) was a Seattle entrepreneur who died
      (1931–22 May 2006) Most people in Seattle just assume he was the guy who was acting out his own commercials but in fact the Mr. Fonk was a much older gentlemen who had built a change of insurance offices around the Seattle metro area…

  1. He will be missed! Just like when we lost JPPatches a few years back. Praying he was right with the LORD and we’ll see him again someday soon!

  2. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. His commercials were so fun, stupid, and hysterical! He will be missed. Good thoughts and prayers to the family. RIP.

  3. For years, I have wishes for a DVD of all of the Vern Fonk commercials… maybe now they will do one.

    What a great $ raiser for charity that would be!

  4. Oh no! So sorry to hear. My heart goes out to his family and friends. He will be missed so much.

    Rest In Peace Rob Thielke

  5. Rob was the best friend I could ever ask for. The employees of Vern Fonk Insurance will miss him sorely, as the company will never be the same again. The parent company of Vern Fonk Insurance will soon know that he was the sole reason why the company has ascended to levels of greatness that their other divisions could only dream of. Yet Rob was much more than that. He was the best father to his kids and husband to his wife that anybody could ever ask for. His passion for helping others, including orphans and troubled/at-risk children was unwavering as he dedicated much of his time every week to help them. He helped people like me become better at what we do and with a purpose. He loved God with all of his heart. Even though he is in a better place now, it still doesn’t take away the tears nor the pain of such great loss. I’ll miss you, my brother. RIP.

  6. Very sad day. Rob was my insurance agent years ago. He always spoke of his family, wife children and step children, his Brady Bunch. A great guy. I love his commercials, but to just know Rob was an honor. Prayers to his family and friends. Rest in peace Rob.

  7. This is heartbreaking. My sympathies to his family. He always made me laugh. His commercials, his delivery of the message made you remember the product… and HIM! He was very talented and fun. I am so sad for his family and friends. Stupid cancer… Again… a huge loss to everyone.

  8. So very sorry to hear of this wonderful man’s passing. He will be greatly missed. I’ve enjoyed his crazy stupid commercials for years. Even when I was down his commercials could make me laugh. RIP “Vern Fonk”. Honk, honk!

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