08/18/2014 12:39 EDT | Updated 10/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Former Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative leader Dick Collver dies at age 78

REGINA - A former leader of the official Opposition in Saskatchewan has died.

Dick Collver, who was 78, died Aug. 7 in Thailand, where he was living.

Collver took over the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives in 1973 when the party had no seats.

In the 1975 election, the Tories won seven seats, including Collver’s constituency of Nipawin.

He led the party to 17 seats and official Opposition status in the 1978 election, but stepped down as leader shortly afterwards.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Collver was a strong conservative voice in the province.

“Although he had not lived in Saskatchewan for many years, he certainly made a huge impact on Saskatchewan politics in the 1970s,” Wall said in a release Monday.