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Cruise boat captain dies

SELMA — People along the river who wait for Capt. Randy Thompson to come chugging down the Alabama received sad news Monday.

Mr. Thompson, 67, died of cancer New Year’s Day. He was the captain of the Phoenix and chief of Queen City Cruise, which operated out of the Selma Marina.

“Captain Randy will be dearly missed,” said Candace Johnson, director of the Selma-Dallas County Convention and Tourist Bureau. “He was always so excited about the events that he wanted to bring here by way of the riverboat and enjoyed sharing his love of the Alabama River with Selma.”

The Phoenix will continue to run, said Mr. Thompson’s wife, Sharon.

Paul Bradford, Mr. Thompson co-pilot, will fulfill any obligations of the Queen City Cruise, Mrs. Thompson said in a telephone interview Monday.

“Paul is personable and a gentleman,” she said.

As for a permanent run of the Phoenix, for now, Mrs. Thompson said she expects the boat to continue its excursions up and down the Alabama River.

“But it is early to be making these kinds of decisions,” she said.

Mr. Thompson was a native of Montgomery. He operated Queen City Cruise in Montgomery for four years before seeing Selma as untapped potential and moving his operation here in February 2009.

The Phoenix was the first riverboat docked in modern times in Selma.

A celebration of Mr. Thompson’s life is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the boat Saturday. His ashes will be scattered on the river, his wife said.