Helen Hunley

Rocky Mountain House


Life and Work

Helen Hunley was one of the few women in the farm implement business when she ran an implement and truck dealership in Rocky Mountain House in the 1960s. She was also one of the first women to hold a cabinet portfolio in Alberta government and the first woman to be the Lieutenant-Governor, 1985-1991.

A telephone operator after high school, Helen joined the Canadian Women's Army Corps during WWII. She served overseas and came home to help on the family farm for a year. Next she worked at the implement and truck dealership, buying it after nine years. She earned a journeyman's certificate as a partsman and held the International Harvester franchise until 1968. From 1968 to 1971, she added an insurance business to the dealership.

Municipal politics were a part of her life in Rocky Mountain House. She served as town councillor for six years and mayor for five more. In 1971 she was elected to the Alberta legislature and appointed minister without portfolio. In 1973 she became Alberta's first solicitor general. In 1975, after re-election, Helen was appointed minister of social services. She retired in 1979. Outside of politics, Helen was active in community affairs, particularly with the Red Cross Society and the Boy Scouts.