Keith eventually sold Sault Airways. He retired from flying and refocused his energy to his life long hobby of flying racing pigeons. During his flying career the pigeons were sometimes used to relay messages between his clients in the middle of the bush and Keith’s base of operations in the Sault. If there was an emergency at a fishing camp, or the successful moose hunters needed to get their meat out of the bush earlier than scheduled, a “Messenger” pigeon would be let loose to head back to Keith’s pigeon coop miles away and the next morning the Messenger Norseman plane would be on its way.
In June 2006 Keith Messenger was honoured by the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Association of Ontario with a Plaque of Appreciation. At the age of 90, Keith Messenger left his life as an aviation entrepreneur and pioneer in bush flying in Algoma on October 11, 2010. He is fondly remembered by the staff and volunteers at the Canadian Bushplane Museum in Sault Ste. Marie, as well as by the long-time residents of Wawa who remember the hum of his Norseman as it passed over the town to deliver its precious cargo and provide us an important link with the rest of Northern Ontario.
Photos courtesy of Janet Messenger