November 3, 2016
US fishing industry legend passes away at 86
Rodney Thompson, a prominent figure in the US fishing industry, died peacefully at his home in Titusville, Florida, on October 21 following a long, courageously fought battle with normal pressure hydrocephalous, the Southern Shrimp Alliance reported. He was 86.
Thompson was actively involved in all aspects of the domestic commercial fishing industry from manufacturing commercial fishing boats to pioneering the rock shrimp industry and operating seafood restaurants and markets.
He started T-Craft Boats, Thompson Trawlers, Offshore 30, Thompson Industries, Ponce Seafood, Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, Cape Canaveral Shrimp Company and Wild Ocean Seafood Market, among others.
He was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Fisheries Association. He also served on committees for the South Atlantic Fisheries Council, the Florida Seafood Advisory Board and the Florida Seafood Marketing Board. The Thompson family was the first non-agricultural recipient of the Brevard County Farm Family of the Year designation for their work in the Florida seafood industry.
A pioneer in the fiberglass boat-building industry, Rodney built the world's first fiberglass commercial shrimp boat. The boat was initially panned by the traditional shrimpers who said, "If God wanted boats to be made out of fiberglass, He would have made fiberglass trees."
Thomson is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary Jean, son Thomas (Lisa), daughters Laurilee Thomson and Sherylanne Thompson McCoy, five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren (plus one on the way).