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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 trains bilingual translators

Anastasia Tuskey 0 7843

Will County recently hosted “interpreter training” for some of its bilingual employees. The five-week training was conducted by Dr. Hector Lopez, President of Best Solutions, Inc. of Downers Grove, IL.

         “With the diversity in the population of Will County, we are proud to have these bilingual employees trained to handle any need for interpretation,” said County Executive Larry Walsh. 

Public Notice - 2015 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Application

Nina Campbell 0 5426

THE WILL COUNTY BOARD EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, IN COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES AND WILL COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIALS, WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING DURING ITS MONTHLY COUNTY BOARD MEETING ON THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015, AT 9:30 A. M., IN THE WILL COUNTY BOARD ROOM, 302 NORTH CHICAGO STREET, SECOND FLOOR, JOLIET, IL., TO DISCUSS THE ALLOCATION OF THE 2015 JUSTICE ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM. THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO ATTEND AND MAKE PUBLIC COMMENT AT THIS TIME. WRITTEN COMMENTS MAY ALSO BE SUBMITTED TO THE WILL COUNTY EXECUTIVE CHIEF OF STAFF, 302 NORTH CHICAGO STREET, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 60432, OR BY EMAIL: npalmer@willcountyillinois.com.
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POSTED:  June 9, 2015

Mobile Workforce Center’s July schedule announced

Tammy Reiher 0 4622

The Mobile Workforce Center’s July schedule has been announced by the Workforce Services Division of Will County.

The mobile unit travels throughout Will County to help residents with resume development, cover letters and job applications. The workforce center contains 11 computer stations, internet access, and offers keyboarding lessons, as well as resume and job search assistance using online listings including jobs4people.org and Illinois workNet.

Workforce Services Division releases July workshop schedule

Tammy Reiher 0 5388

Workforce Services Division of Will County has scheduled its July workshops for job seekers.

Participants will learn interviewing techniques at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, in Successful Interviewing. Learn how to prepare for a job interview, be confident and make a positive impression. Attendees may schedule an individual, digitally recorded mock interview after completing the workshop. 

Book Reuse and Recycling Event ‘busiest’ ever

Tammy Reiher 0 5489

About 69,000 books went home with new readers from the “busiest” Will County Reuse and Recycle Book Event to date.

Tim Anderson of the Will County Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division said the event at the Pilcher Park Nature Center June 5-7 “was the busiest in both number of people who attended and books.” Anderson has spearheaded the event, which began in 1999, the last four years. The event is co-sponsored by the Joliet Park District.

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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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