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Will County Executive Larry Walsh loses battle to cancer; leaves long career in public service and unique legacy behind

Will County Executive Larry Walsh

WILL COUNTY - Lawrence M. “Larry” Walsh, a loving husband, proud father and grandfather, faithful farmer, dedicated public servant, and lifelong Will County resident, died Wednesday evening at his home in Elwood, Illinois.  He was 72.

Walsh battled complications of prostate cancer for more than five years.  He was first treated for prostate cancer in late 2014 and continued to receive medical care in the following years.  In late 2018, he again began chemotherapy treatments for a reoccurrence of the cancer.  Walsh was a strong supporter of cancer research and a proud participant of the annual Will County Relay for Life.  He always encouraged others to get screened for cancer to obtain early detections of this disease.

Known for his strong commitment to serving his community, Walsh began his public service at age 21 on the Elwood School Board, which he followed ­as the Jackson Township Supervisor, a Will County Board member, an Illinois State Senator, and culminating as the Will County Executive, first being elected in 2004.  Walsh was the longest-serving County Executive and led the fourth largest county in the State of Illinois.

Walsh and his wife, Irene, are loving parents of six children and 20 grandchildren and have numerous extended family members who formed a strong network of service to their communities for many years.  Walsh always acknowledged the love and support he received from his wonderful family during his years of political life. 

Respected for his bipartisan approach at every level of government he served, Walsh prided himself in working collaboratively to find solutions to the challenges that were faced.  His longest tenure has been as County Executive where Will County built a strong financial foundation that improved the County’s bond rating.  That success led to the largest capital improvements campaign in the county’s history and sustained investments in roads and bridge infrastructure.  This campaign included a new Public Safety Complex and consolidated 911 dispatch center, a new County Health department facility, and a new Courthouse.

Sentiments from his peers are flowing in, noting his commitment to the residents of Will County and more than 50 years of public service.

“Larry’s passing is a tremendous loss to his family, certainly, but also to the community,” said Denise Winfrey, Speaker of the Will County Board.   “He dedicated his life to service. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with him and learn from him. He touched numerous lives, forged alliances, and reached out to work with people from all walks of life. The work he has done speaks for him. Rest in peace Larry, job well done.”

County Board member Jim Moustis and Walsh began a friendship back in 1992 when they served together on the County Board.

“Larry loved Will County and being the County Executive,” said Moustis.  “He always wanted the best for the people of Will County and was a true leader.  I will sadly miss him and have had great respect for him, despite our differences at times.” 

Longtime Chief of Staff Nick Palmer worked with Walsh for many years, both in the State Senate and in Will County. He said Walsh is a perfect example of a public servant.

“Larry cared about the residents he served and never wanted to say no to a request for help. Larry is a one of a kind guy who always had a hearty laugh and smile for those he interacted with, no matter a person’s place in life.  He knew the cleaning crew and he knew the President of the United States Barack Obama.  He loved them all and always talked about the friendships he had made throughout his life in Will County.  His passing has left a huge void in this community and I will truly miss his friendship.”

Arrangements for Executive Larry Walsh will be announced once they become available.


What's Happening in Will County

2016 HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition Community Summit to Focus on Implementation of Illinois Heroin Crisis Act
Anastasia Tuskey

2016 HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition Community Summit to Focus on Implementation of Illinois Heroin Crisis Act

The 2016 HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition Community Summit will focus on the implementation of a sweeping new state law designed to tackle the deadly heroin epidemic that has plagued Will County, Illinois and our entire Nation.

This year’s event, sponsored by the grassroots HERO organization, Will County HELPS, and the Southwest Coalition for Substance Abuse Issues, is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. until noon on Friday, April 29 at the Edward Hospital Athletic and Event Center, 55 Phelps Ave. in Romeoville. The focus of this year’s event is “The Heroin Crisis Act: What it Means for You.”

The Heroin Crisis Act, passed by the Illinois General Assembly in May 2015, has been hailed as one of the most comprehensive bills in the nation because it focuses on many facets of the heroin epidemic and use of opioid painkillers.

The law establishes requirements for expanded insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment as well as increased access to treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. It also provides a blueprint for additional drug-prevention education, prescription drug monitoring, expanded access to naloxone (Narcan®), prescription medication disposal, overdose reporting by hospitals, physician opioid prescription requirements, and more.

New regulations touch nine different state agencies including the Departments of Human Services, Insurance, Public Health, Financial and Professional Regulation, the State Board of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the State Police.

“This new law addresses many aspects of what we consider to be a public health crisis,” said Paul Lauridsen, chairman of the event. “We are honored to have leaders from several state agencies who will delve into specifics as to how this comprehensive bill will help them address the heroin epidemic.”

Health insurance providers, pharmacists, doctors, educators, law enforcement officials, families, and the public are encouraged to attend in order to hear the latest information about how the regulations in Heroin Crisis Act are being implemented.

“While much has been done to increase awareness about the heroin epidemic and opioid use in our communities, there is still a lot of information that needs to be explained to the public about this new law,” Lauridsen said.  “Unfortunately heroin and pain-killer abuse continues to rise at an alarming rate, and it will take everyone working together to find a solution.”

In 2015, 51 people in Will County died as the result of a heroin overdose.

CPDUs, CMEs and CEUs are provided for education, medical, social work professionals, licensed professional counselors, and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support professionals.

 

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Tribute to Will County Executive Larry Walsh
Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL) pays tribute to the life and service of Larry Walsh Sr.

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Upcoming Events

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Public Health & Safety Committee - 10:00 a.m.

Meetings will be held in the County Board Committee Room in the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet, Illinois, unless stated otherwise. Meeting agendas and cancellations are available on the website www.willcountyboard.com. To contact us, email: countyboard@willcountyillinois.com or phone: 815.740.4602.

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Executive Committee - 10 a.m.

Meetings will be held in the County Board Committee Room in the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet, Illinois, unless stated otherwise. Meeting agendas and cancellations are available on the website www.willcountyboard.com. To contact us, e-mail: countyboard@willcountyillinois.com or phone 815.740.4602.

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Executive Committee - 10 a.m.

Meetings will be held in the County Board Committee Room in the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet, Illinois, unless stated otherwise. Meeting agendas and cancellations are available on the website www.willcountyboard.com. To contact us, e-mail: countyboard@willcountyillinois.com or phone 815.740.4602.

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Expanded Will County textile, shoe collection set for July 13-17

Expanded Will County textile, shoe collection set for July 13-17

Will County’s annual textile and shoe collection event, usually held in May, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 13, through Friday, July 17, at the County Office Building.

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Expanded Will County textile, shoe collection set for July 13-17

Expanded Will County textile, shoe collection set for July 13-17

Will County’s annual textile and shoe collection event, usually held in May, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 13, through Friday, July 17, at the County Office Building.

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Public Health & Safety Committee - 10:00 a.m.

Meetings will be held in the County Board Committee Room in the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet, Illinois, unless stated otherwise. Meeting agendas and cancellations are available on the website www.willcountyboard.com. To contact us, email: countyboard@willcountyillinois.com or phone: 815.740.4602.

Read more
6

Executive Committee - 10 a.m.

Meetings will be held in the County Board Committee Room in the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet, Illinois, unless stated otherwise. Meeting agendas and cancellations are available on the website www.willcountyboard.com. To contact us, e-mail: countyboard@willcountyillinois.com or phone 815.740.4602.

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