Chris Pearson

A portrait of Chris Pearson, Yukon's first premier, taken in 1982. Pearson died Feb. 14 at the age of 82. (Harry Palmer)

Yukon's first premier, Chris Pearson, died late last week at age 82, according to a statement from Premier Darrell Pasloski's office.

Pearson was first elected Yukon government leader in 1978, as a Progressive Conservative. He was re-elected in 1982 and resigned in 1985.

After that, he worked for the Canadian consulate in Dallas, Texas.

Yukon Health Minister Doug Graham, who was a friend and former colleague of Pearson's, says Pearson remained connected to the territory throughout the remainder of his life. 

"He kept track of what was going on in the Yukon because he was concerned," he said. "I guess that kind of explains his whole lifestyle. He was concerned about people and he was concerned about what was happening in the territory and I just loved him for that." 

A statement from Pasloski says Pearson was instrumental in bringing responsible government to Yukon.

Pasloski also says Pearson helped ensure the territory was involved in land claim negotiations with First Nations and Ottawa.