sk-taylor-graham091008

Former Saskatchewan cabinet minister Graham Taylor died this week at age 73. (CBC)

A former Saskatchewan cabinet minister who was once the boss of a young Brad Wall is being remembered for his devotion to public service.

Graham Taylor, 73, collapsed Wednesday night and died.

Premier Wall, who was a ministerial assistant working for Taylor in the late 1980s, paid tribute to Taylor on Thursday.

"He was very passionate about the province, about public service," Wall said. "It kind of reinforced my interest in politics — it was a good way maybe to leave things better than you found them."

From 1978 to 1990, Taylor was the MLA for Indian Head-Wolseley. In 1979, he ran for the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives, a position ultimately won by former premier Grant Devine.

He was appointed to cabinet after Devine and his party won the election in 1982 and served in a number of  portfolios,  including health.

Taylor was also the minister responsible for privatizing the Crown corporations.

Taylor resigned from cabinet in 1989 to become Saskatchewan's agent-general in Hong Kong.

He was dismissed from the post two years later when the newly elected NDP government closed all of the province's trade offices.

One of the people who faced Taylor across the legislative floor for a number of years was New Democrat MLA Dwain Lingenfelter.

Lingenfelter, who's now the leader of the Opposition, called Taylor a "great adversary" who believed very strongly in what he was doing.

"But having said that, after the day of questioning was done or speeches were given, Graham was the kind of guy you could go and have a drink with or sit behind the bar and have a discussion about farming or other things," Lingenfelter said.

"He never took it personal. He understood that the cut and thrust of democracy was very important. He was just a great guy and I think represented his constituents very, very well."

In recent years, Taylor had lived on a farm near Wolseley. He leaves a wife and four children.