Ex-senator, soil conservation champion Herb Sparrow dies

Saskatchewan's Herb Sparrow, a retired senator known for his work on soil conservation, has died at 82.

Saskatchewan's Herb Sparrow, a retired senator known for his work on soil conservation, has died at 82.

Sparrow, who was born in Saskatoon and later made his home in North Battleford, was a businessman and rancher whom former Prime Minister Lester Pearson appointed to the Senate in 1968 when he was 38.

"[He was] a passionate voice for Saskatchewan and for the West, somebody who really did care," Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said.

When he retired in 2005 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, Sparrow was Canada's longest-serving senator.

While in the Senate, Sparrow chaired a committee that produced an influential report on the state of Canada's soils entitled "Soil at risk, Canada's Eroding Future."

In 2008, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Soil Conservation Council of Canada's hall of fame.

Around North Battleford, Sparrow was also known as the man who launched the city's first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.

A spokesman for the Liberal Party confirmed that Sparrow died on Thursday, although the cause of death wasn't immediately available.