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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

Will County lauded for effectively ending homelessness among veterans
Anastasia Tuskey
/ Categories: News, Press Releases, Home Page

Will County lauded for effectively ending homelessness among veterans

     The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed that the Will County Continuum of Care has effectively ended homelessness among veterans in the county.

            “I am proud of the collaborative effort in Will County that is working towards ending homelessness for all of our veterans,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “These veterans have made large sacrifices to protect our freedom and our nation. The very least we can do is assist them in finding permanent housing.”

              Matthew Doherty, executive director of the USICH, sent a letter to Will County officials acknowledging the success of the Joliet, Bolingbrook/Will County Continuum of Care in ensuring any veteran in Will County who is experiencing homelessness will receive help to find permanent housing. He commended the infrastructure and systems the continuum has built to ensure any veteran experiencing homelessness in Will County quickly gets the support needed to find a permanent home.

            “Through partnership and perseverance, Will County has become the 50th community in the nation to end veteran homelessness,” said Doherty “The lessons we learn from communities like Will County are helping us end homelessness for veterans nationwide.”

             The Will County Continuum of Care is led by Will County Center for Community Concerns. The Continuum has a broad membership, including the following partners: the Will County Land Use Department, the Will County Veterans Assistance Commission, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet, Edward Hines Jr. VA Healthcare for Homeless Veterans/HUD VASH, Family and Friends Grant and Per Diem, Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission, Joliet Police Department, Joliet Public Library, Joliet Neighborhood Services, Kendall County Veterans Assistance Commission, Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, Morning Star Mission, Cornerstone Services, Inc.

            In 2016, 59 Veterans were connected to permanent housing in the local community, averaging 58 days of homelessness. Since the beginning of 2017, 45 Veterans have been connected to permanent housing in the county.

            "This is a great example of leaders coming together around the right strategies to end homelessness among our veterans," said Steven Braverman, M.D., director, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital. "We truly appreciate the great work being done by our partners in the Will County Continuum to help solve this important issue."

            “We at HUD are proud of the Will County Continuum of Care and community leaders’ achievement in effectively ending veteran homelessness,” said HUD Midwest Deputy Regional Administrator James A. Cunningham. “Communities around the country can now look to Will County as a model for ensuring that our nation’s heroes have a safe and stable place to call home. Through our ongoing collaboration we can and must uphold our own duty to support all those who have answered the call of duty.” 

            For information about the Will County Continuum of Care contact Will County Center for Community Concerns Homeless Services Director, Merridith Montgomery at (815) 722-0722 ext. 205 or at mmontgomery@wcccc.net.

 

Pictured: Merridith Montgomery, Homeless Services Director, Will County Center for Community Concerns; Jennifer Rich, Director of Communications, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; James Cunningham, Deputy Regional Administrator, US Dept of Housing and Urban Development; Will County Board Minority Leader Herbert Brooks, Jr.; Kris White, Executive Director, Will County Center for Community Concerns; Will County Executive Larry Walsh; Dr. Steven Braverman, Director, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital; Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis.

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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.

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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