Remembering Bob Throndsen: ‘I’ve been lucky — in life, in love and in my work’

Bob Throndsen

Veteran journalist Bob Throndsen died unexpectedly at his Edmonds home Saturday, Feb. 4. He was 75 years old.

I met Bob for the first time in late February 2020, just before the COVID pandemic took hold. He expressed an interest in writing for My Edmonds News and I was thrilled to welcome such an experienced journalist to our team.

A winner of multiple Emmy awards, Bob spent 34 years working at KOMO TV News, where he served as managing editor, and KOMO News Radio as a news director, retiring in 2012. During his tenure at KOMO News Radio, the station won Edward R. Murrow awards for Best Newscast and Overall Excellence. Prior to his time at KOMO, he worked in Portland, Oregon and in Philadelphia

In a story that KOMO wrote in 2012 about Bob’s retirement, the station noted that “Throndsen is a news man, but he is also a humble teacher. He’s been a mentor to many people at KOMO over the years.”

Bob told KOMO: “I’ve often said to reporters through the years, that if we take the right audio, and the right words, and the right video, we make magic. And nobody else can touch us. And that magic comes into your life, and my life, and maybe some of what we do makes a difference.”

Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Bob at My Edmonds News and our sister publications, MLTnews and Lynnwood Today, felt the same way. So did journalists throughout the area.

Bob Throndsen, KOMO-TV News, reporting from Mount St. Helens March 27, 1980.

“Bob was both a friend and mentor to me and countless other broadcast journalists in our region,” said Edmonds resident Carolyn Douglas, WGU senior communications manager and former KING 5 News anchor and reporter.  “I was fortunate to also collaborate with him on several community efforts in Edmonds. He was tremendously generous with his time and leadership. I will miss his wit, his wisdom, his joyfulness — and his contagious laugh.”

In the short three years that Bob wrote for the My Neighborhood News Network, he made a major impact on our reporting. He had no fear of asking tough questions and was eager to get to the bottom of any story he covered. But first and foremost, he was a storyteller. His background in broadcasting pushed him to be succinct in his writing, and his career in television meant that he emphasized the visual elements of every story he did.

Bob’s first assignment for My Edmonds News, Feb. 29, 2020, was covering a memorial service for Edmonds 7-11 clerk Nagendiram Kandasamy, who was fatally shot Feb. 21 while working at the convenience store. Bob continued to follow developments in the case as Edmonds police searched for Kandasamy’s killer, who is still at large.

As a member of the now-disbanded Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission, Bob was particularly interested in issues related to housing and homelessness, and wrote frequently about the topic. He was particularly proud of this four-part series focused on the human side of the housing debate. He also wrote compassionately about those who found themselves homeless, including this 2021 story: “What can we do for people like Charlie?

Another of Bob’s favorite projects was providing ongoing coverage of Edmonds resident Dan Fine’s work to try to save injured and abandoned animals in war-torn Ukraine.

Many in Edmonds remember Bob’s reporting on the city’s controversial 2020 hiring of Sherman Pruitt to be the city’s next police chief and the aftermath of that decision. But Bob also found joy in writing about the lighter side of life, including the time that Comstock Jewelers owner Erin Comstock called on Edmonds police officers to help rescue five kittens trapped underneath her house. Or the time Bob spotted what he thought might be a dreaded giant Asian hornet in his front yard (it turned out to be a harmless Great Golden Digger Wasp).

Bob Throndsen was born May 2, 1947 in Fort Wayne, Indiana and grew up in Eastchester, New York. He graduted from Dartmouth College with a degree in U.S. history. In a “Contributor close-up” profile he wrote for our publications in 2021, Bob noted: “I started in Portland just out of college, with a degree in history and three years of college radio under my belt and the naïve idea that the world was ready for me. It wasn’t. And I wasn’t ready for it. But, my managers and colleagues in Portland radio and then TV news were kind and patient, and I started to figure out that I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I was learning — to listen, to really hear peoples’ stories, learning how to tell those stories, learning how to write so others could ‘hear’ them too.”

Bob and Sonja with daughters Kiersten (L) Erika (R).

Bob and his wife Sonja would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this August. In his profile for us, he noted that “I’ve been lucky — in life, in love and in my work. News assignments have taken me to what was the Soviet Union, on the first sister-city trip from Seattle to Tashkent, in Uzbekistan; to Cape Canaveral for the first shuttle launch after the Challenger disaster; to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to report on Seattle’s crab fishing crews; to Mount St. Helens just before its first eruption and for years after. Bob wrote in 2020 about his memories of Mount St. Helens, to mark the 40th anniversary of the mountain’s eruption.

Bob adored his wife and family and noted that the big passion he and Sonja shared “is the miracle of our grandchildren. Being grandparents in the best job ever!” The couple raised their two daughters, Erika and Kiersten, in Edmonds. Erika Spellman and husband Cory now live in Twisp with their three children — Morgan, MacKenzie and Montana. Kiersten Christensen and her husband Sean live in Edmonds with daughters Hadley and Reagan.

Bob during a day of fishing.

Among Bob’s other leisure-time activities: salmon fishing, trout fishing and crabbing, along with golf, gardening and HO scale trains.

Bob told KOMO in his 2012 retirement story: “I’ve had a chance to go toe-to-toe with people, I’ve had a chance to laugh with them, to cry with them — and that’s what I take away, is telling their story. And knowing I think I did a pretty damn good job.”

He reiterated those words in 2021, in his contributor close-up:

“The people I’ve met, the stories they have shared, the joy and the heartache of their lives, the wonders and the crises of our world… have all shaped my life,” he said.

We will share details about services for Bob Throndsen when they become available.

— By Teresa Wippel


  1. This is profoundly sad news. Deep condolences to Bob’s wife and daughters. Bob was a big part of our community and will be missed.

  2. We will miss Bob Throndsen. We were fortunate to have his astute perspective in stories for “My Edmonds News.” Condolences to his family. His passing is a great loss for all of us.

  3. My condolences go out to Bob’s family and friends. I appreciated his reporting and felt fortunate to have his expertise, compassion and fair stories printed here for us. He was a true Edmonds treasure. Very sad news.

    1. The above comments say everything there is to say. This is a profound loss for the Edmonds community-and a personal one for a remarkable number of us who knew this great man personally. My condolences to the family. We will certainly miss you, Bob. Rest in peace.

  4. Bob was an inspiration and mentor to so many Seattle journalists. My heart is with his family and the journalism community.

  5. What a huge loss for our community. I had the pleasure to work with Bob on the Housing Commission. He was always open minded and willing to discuss difficult issues in a respectful and civil manner. A true professional no matter how you define it. More than that, he was, Edmonds!

    My condolences go out to his family and friends. A truly sad day.

  6. I’m sad that I never had the opportunity to meet Bob personally but I feel like I know him because of his work for MEN and strong connection to the Edmonds community. I greatly respected his story-telling and fearlessness in covering some difficult topics in our city. My deepest condolences to Bob’s family – I know he will be deeply missed.

    1. I was going to say something along these lines but David said it better. My thoughts exactly. We are better off as a community the last few years because of Bob.

  7. This is a terrible loss on so may levels, first of course for his family, and then for his MEN family who he’s been working with the last three years. And then for the Edmonds community that he’s been a part of for many years. He knew this town well, and we will miss his thoughtful and detailed reporting and analyses. Such sad, sad news.

  8. What a loss. As a community we are better because of Bob. He invested his career and his voice in a noble profession that is vital to protecting and improving a free and informed society. As a member of our community, he exhibited the best of who we can be. What precious little time I spent with Bob, always resulted in me wanting to spend more. My heart goes out to his family.

  9. Every once in awhile I read an obituary of someone and end up saying, “I wish I had known and associated with that someone personally. Sometimes I go as far as to say, “man I wish I was like that person myself.” This is one of those times. Also, hats off to Teresa for helping us all share Bob’s gifts of writing and caring.

  10. I never had the opportunity to meet Bob in person, but I really enjoyed his reporting in My Edmonds News. I never knew he had such an interesting backstory as a journalist. Our community has truly lost an asset. My condolences to his friends and family.

  11. I have truly enjoyed getting to know Bob. I had a meeting this morning and brought up his name for an idea, and was told of his passing. This is truly sad. My condolences to his family. I found Bob to be a person of great character; and one of many talents. He will truly be missed by many personally and by our community.

  12. My condolences to the Throndsen family. Unexpected losses upend lives so tremendously that extra love and care is critical. I had the pleasure to serve with Bob on the Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission and several of the workgroups related to that work. He listened to all sides of the debates in those meetings in a courteous and intentional way that earned him respect. The community of Edmonds will miss him and his reporting. It is a sad loss.

  13. Teresa you have done a wonderful job in this story capturing the essence of who Bob Throndsen was. This is the exact kind of story that Bob strived for. Thank you!

  14. Sad news indeed. Bob was a great reporter with integrity and perseverance. He was also a wonderful man. His loss results in a huge void for Edmonds and MEN. We will miss him. Deepest condolences to his family and close friends.

  15. What shocking sad news. My husband Jeff saw him a lot at QFC and would always share little parts of their conversation with me. It was just last week that Jeff mentioned seeing him at the store. Our condolences to the family and really the whole community

  16. I am shocked to learn the sad news about Bob’s passing. My deepest condolences to the Throndsen family. I had the pleasure to work with Bob on the Edmonds Citizens Housing Commission as a Co-Commissioner. I came to know him as a compassionate and caring person who was not afraid to ask tough questions. True loss for our community!

  17. Bob’s expertise and journalism skills helped escalate and cement the MEN roster in a great way. Instantly Bob was a playmaker and a trusted source. I’ve only seen a few that have been able to forge immediate trust and influence like Bob Throndsen. In the beginning it was obvious he would be able to keep up with the kinetic and amazing MEN crew. Bob brought a big game his whole life and Edmonds got a really generous piece of it.

  18. Although Bob was not an alumnus of WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Bob exemplified Murrow’s values and standards. We were fortunate to have him among us.

  19. It has taken a few days for the news of Bob Throndson’s death to sink in, as I had a wonderful, meaningful conversation with him only a few days ago.

    He added so much to the region and our community through his work in television and My Edmonds News. Such a clear and independent thinker, we all have a richness added to our lives from him. He will be missed and remembered…..

  20. Thank you Teresa for this wonderful memorial of s truly great man and journalist.

    I heard this news yesterday and was so sadden as Bob was truly an excellent, honest, intelligent and kind journalist.

    His work on the Housing concerns in Edmonds should win a journalistic award. And, all of his other investigative pieces were so well written and balanced.

    What a total loss to our community and your journalist team Teresa. My prayers and sympathy go out to all his family and friends.

    What a legend and role model. RIP Bob!

  21. Sorry to read this. I enjoyed Bob’s work and enjoyed our correspondence. His journalism was truely professional and will surely be missed by Teresa and the entire MENS community. Many condolences to Bob’s family and friends.

  22. I was lucky to work with Bob during my eight years as a producer and manager at KOMO TV in the ’90s. He was not only talented and fair, he was also fiercely ethical, a trait too rare these days. I didn’t realize until seeing his death reported elsewhere, and then coming here to look for coverage, that Bob had continued his journalism career by reporting online community news. You were lucky to have such a gifted storyteller on your team. RIP, Bob.

  23. Bob was a treasure to our Edmonds community, and a fabulous reporter for KOMO news! I grew up watching Bob on KOMO, and he was always so great at his job.

    Bob will truly be missed by all who knew and loved him!

    Many condolences to Bob’s family.

  24. Every time we got a chance to talk with Bob, it was filled with smiles and lots of laughs. That was Bob. Very engaging. He was truly one of the nicest human beings you would ever meet (And, that goes for his wife Sonja as well). He let you know how genuinely he cared about our friendship. Bob, you were one of a kind. You will be dearly missed!
    Brian and Erin Comstock and family

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