Helen Hunley

The Honourable
Helen Hunley
12th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
In office
January 22, 1985  March 11, 1991
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Jeanne Sauvé
Ray Hnatyshyn
Premier Peter Lougheed
Don Getty
Preceded by Frank Lynch-Staunton
Succeeded by Gordon Towers
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
August 30, 1971  March 14, 1979
Preceded by Alfred Hooke
Succeeded by John Murray Campbell
Constituency Rocky Mountain House
Personal details
Born Wilma Helen Hunley
(1920-09-06)September 6, 1920
Acme, Alberta
Died October 22, 2010(2010-10-22) (aged 90)
Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Nationality Canadian
Political party Progressive Conservative
Residence Rocky Mountain House
Occupation telephone operator, insurance businesswoman

Wilma Helen Hunley, OC, AOE (September 6, 1920 – October 22, 2010) was a former Canadian politician and the 12th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the first woman to serve in that post.

Early life

She was born in Acme, Alberta, to James Edgar Hunley and Esta May Hunley. She first worked as an operator, served overseas in the Army Corp during World War II and eventually owned and operated an International Harvester franchise and an insurance business.[1]

Political career

Hunley served as a town councilor from 1960 to 1966 and then mayor of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta from 1966 to 1971. Hunley was elected to the province's legislative assembly as a Progressive Conservative. She was the province's cabinet minister serving as Minister Without Portfolio from 1971 to 1973, Solicitor-General from 1973 to 1975 and then Minister of Social Services and Community Health from 1975 until 1979 when she retired from politics.

In June, 1980, Hunley was appointed chair of the Alberta Mental Health Advisory Council. She also served on the Alberta 75th Anniversary Commission.

Hunley became president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta in 1984 and, in 1985, was appointed by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé, on the advice of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, to the position of lieutenant-governor. She served in the position until 1991. In 1992, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.


  1. Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Calgary: Famous Five Foundation. p. 93.


  • Perry, Sandra E.; Powell, Karen L. (2006). On Behalf of the Crown : Lieutenant Governors of the North-West Territories and Alberta, 1869-2005. Edmonton, Alberta: Legislative Assembly of Alberta. ISBN 0-9689217-4-4. 
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