May 4, 1941 – February 17, 2009
“Uncle Bill” as he was affectionately known in the Ontario Friendship Centre Movement was only 67 years young when he completed his walk journey and passed away into the Spirit World on February 17, 2009. He was a member of the Turtle Clan from Alderville First Nations near Peterborough, Ontario.
Senator William (Bill) Messenger was appointed to the NAFC Senate at the 32nd Annual General Meeting held on July 8-11, 2003 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He was an active member of the Board of Directors for the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre in Windsor, Ontario since the early 1980’s. He also served three consecutive terms on the Executive Committee of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) and was appointed as the OFIFC representative to the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) during that term as well.
Senator Bill is survived by his loving wife Margaret who he was married to for 36 years. He is father of Patricia and Todd and dearest brother to Joanne Umbel. He was predeceased by his parents Harry and Annie Messenger and by his brothers Harry, Allan and Rob.
Uncle Bill was active in the local Original Peoples community. He served for nine years on the Board of Governors of the University of Windsor and also served for nine years as Aboriginal Co-Chair for the Provincial Government of Ontario’s Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative.
One of Uncle Bill’s favourite past times was attending spring, summer, fall and mid-winter ceremonies on Manitoulin Island and various ceremonies throughout Canada. He served as Grandfather for Alderville First Nations Women’s Shelter; the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy Joint Management Committee and the Southern Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative. He was also invited as both Elder and Senator to the OFIFC meetings.
He was gentle warrior who had great commitment and dedication to our people, his family, the Friendship Centre Movement and the many other organizations he was involved with.
Uncle Bill was a kind and caring man. He loved to laugh, loved life, loved his role as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Uncle, Great Uncle and Senator. He will be fondly remembered in the Friendship Centre Movement and his presence missed at our gatherings.
May the Creator continue to guide him on his spirit journey.