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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

Recyclepalooza attracts ‘unprecedented’ participation
Tammy Reiher

Recyclepalooza attracts ‘unprecedented’ participation

Earth Day 2015

WILL COUNTY – An “unprecedented” number of people participated in Will County Recyclepalooza celebrating the 45th anniversary of Earth Day at Joliet Junior College on Saturday, April 11.  During the 2012 Recyclepalooza, the last one held there, nearly 500 cars dropped off electronics and household hazardous wastes; during the most recent event that many cars went through in the first two hours of the planned seven-hour event.

Volunteers stayed an additional two hours past the scheduled ending time to help unload items. Vendors stayed until 9 p.m., well past the 3 p.m. scheduled closing time. More than 1,500 vehicles came through the event.

“The good news is that Will County residents understand the importance of protecting our environment through properly disposing of unwanted items,” said Dean Olson, Resource Recovery and Energy Director.

“The crowds we saw at Recyclepalooza are proof of that.”

“Our 2012 event at JJC only filled one semi-trailer with hazardous material, but this event required four semi-trailers with no room to spare,” stated David Hartke, Will County Household Hazardous Waste Project Manager. “Per our request the contractor prepared for a higher turnout and still had to order a fourth semi-trailer to handle all the hazardous waste received.”

“The fact that we offer 13 electronic drop-off sites, and average 40,000 pounds of electronics collected at annual one-day events in Joliet, left us shocked to see an estimated 90,000 pounds of electronics delivered during the event,” said Marta Keane, Recycling Specialist with the Will County Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division.

“We broke all records for wood, carpet, and American Flags. Scrap metal and foam plastic, also known as Styrofoam, also had significant collections,” she said.

“The demand from the public for these services demonstrates the need for a permanent HHW and Recycling Site in the County,” said Olson.

“While we planned for an unusually large turnout, we did not expect the unprecedented number of people who attended,” said Keane.

“The average wait time for an event like this has historically been 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the time of day and location,” added Hartke. The crowds on April 11 meant many participants had long wait times, some for a couple hours. Some were even turned away.  

RRE staff would like residents to know about options residents have to recycle items that were being collected at the JJC event:

  • Household hazardous wastes events are coming up from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 9 at Bolingbrook Village Hall, 375 W. Briarcliff Road and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 16 at the Will County Highway facility, 25930 Egyptian Trial, Monee. In addition, the County helps fund a permanent regional HHW site at 156 Fort Hill Drive in Naperville that is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. No latex paint is taken at the Naperville facility;
  • Textiles of all types, including shoes, clothing and linens, will be accepted from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. May 11-15 at the County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet. From 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 15, toys and small home items, such as collectibles, also will be accepted in cooperation with St. Vincent DePaul. Goodwill has a donation collection center at 3084 Hennepin Drive in Joliet. Items may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays;
  • Electronics are accepted at 13 partnering sites throughout the County. A full list, along with hours of operation, is available at www.willcountygreen.com. Front-door service is available for $25 on an appointment basis through our independent contractor, Vintage Tech. (866) 631-1707;
  • Scrap metal is taken at Monday-Saturday at Berlinsky Scrap, 212 Page Ave., Joliet. (815) 726-4334;
  • Reusable or gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances can be donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 200 S. Larkin Ave., Joliet. (815) 726-1880;
  • Wood, carpet and foam plastic (sometimes called Styrofoam) will be accepted at Sharefest from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 12 at Spencer School, 1701 S. Spencer in New Lenox.

Visit www.willcountygreen.com for information about upcoming events or click on the Green Guide tab to find the information about items to be recycled. Options for motor oil, compact fluorescent lights and much more are listed with year-round drop-off information.The Land Use Department is led by Director Curt Paddock and is under Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s office.
 

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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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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.

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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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