Olene Smith Walker, 85, Utah's only female governor, has died.

Amanda Covington, a former spokeswoman for Mrs. Walker, says she died Saturday in Salt Lake City from natural causes.

Considered one of the highest-profile women in Utah politics, Mrs. Walker, a Republican, served as lieutenant governor for 11 years. She was elevated to governor when Gov. Mike Leavitt left in 2003 to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mrs. Walker attempted reelection but finished fourth in a contest for the GOP nomination at the party's convention in May 2004.

Gov. Gary Herbert praised Mrs. Walker as a fearless champion of education who recognized its integral role in Utah's future success.

Mrs. Walker is survived by her husband, Myron, 7 children, 25 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending. - AP