09/07/2012 01:14 EDT | Updated 11/07/2012 05:12 EST

Herb Sparrow, who represented Saskatchewan in the Senate for 37 years, has died

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. - A senator from Saskatchewan who served almost four decades in the Red Chamber has died.

His family confirms that Herb Sparrow died Thursday after complications from a stroke. He was 82.

Sparrow was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1968 and retired when he turned 75 in 2005.

Sparrow was born in Saskatchewan and was a landowner and rancher in the North Battleford area.

He also owned a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in the community and was recognized by the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2000 for his efforts in soil conservation.

In 2008, Sparrow was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae said Sparrow made significant contributions to Canadian agriculture, especially through his work in the Senate.

"Herb’s life was marked by his many years of service to Saskatchewan and Canada’s West," Rae said Friday in a news release.

"A leading advocate of soil conservation, he became the first president of Soil Conservation Canada in 1987, after devoting much of his life’s work to raising awareness of the dangers of soil degradation.

"In addition to his love of the land, Herb was heavily involved in numerous projects aimed at combating poverty and hunger, and supporting people with disabilities. Herb’s dedication has been widely recognized, and he leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered."

(CKOM, The Canadian Press)