HUNTINGTON BEACH. Calif. -- Rob Thielke, the president and recognizable face of Vern Fonk Insurance, passed away Sunday after a long battle with cancer, the company confirmed.
He was 50 years old.
Thielke joined Vern Fonk Insurance, a company specializing in high-risk auto insurance started in Seattle, in 1989.
Thielke rose to President of the company in 2013, but is best known for creating the company's TV commercials, in which he often starred. His off-the-wall ideas and interesting parodies help make the TV spots some of the most recognizable in the area.
"In addition to his steadfast leadership, Rob enjoyed dreaming up ideas for TV commercials even before he had hired a production company," Chief Operating Officer at Vern Fonk and long-time friend Craig Rexroat said.
Valeria Rico, the CEO of Vern Fonk's parent company Confie, said Thielke's death is not only sad for the insurance family, but for "so many in the Pacific Northwest where Rob was a household name and part of the region's cultural fabric for the last 20 years.
Thielke is survived by his wife, children, mother sister and brother.
In tribute to Rob’s memory – and in support of his family’s wishes – Vern Fonk Insurance will air TV commercials featuring a montage of Rob’s legendary commercials. The TV spots will run over the next few weeks.
To further honor Rob’s memory, Vern Fonk Insurance invites the public “to honk when you drive by Vern Fonk!”