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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

Drug Court Recovery Homes receive energy efficient upgrades, new home garden through partnership between Land Use Department, State’s Attorney’s Office

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     In collaboration with the Will County Land Use Department and the Will County Problem Solving Courts, the county’s Drug Court recovery homes, the Julie Ann House and the Miller Taylor House, have received energy efficiency upgrades at no cost through the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (MEEA’s) Savings Through Efficient Products (STEP).

 

Workforce Center of Will County to host weekly job fair August 25

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     Area job seekers are invited to attend a weekly job fair at the Workforce Center of Will County from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Friday, August 25.

     Among the positions employers will be looking to fill are diesel technician, forklift/reach truck operator, galvanizing associate, general laborer/lumper, home care aide/homemaker, independent living coach, pallet inspectors, picker/packer, production line workers, program specialist, transportation aide, and warehouse workers.

Congressman Bill Foster to host Science of Addiction Forum in Will County

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     Opioid overdose deaths are continuing to rise across the nation and in Illinois, a dramatic increase was reported in Illinois in 2016. More than 2,000 opioid overdose deaths occurred last year, a 44 increase over 2013. Congressman Bill Foster is joining officials in Will County to share information about the science of addiction and strategies to stop overdose deaths at a forum to be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23 at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago Street in Joliet.

County Executive Walsh delivers 2017 State of the County address

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Highlights include progress on capital projects and transportation studies;

Collaboration on key initiatives critical to success

     Collaboration, progress and strong financial health. These were topics of Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s annual State of the County address. Walsh outlined the progress being made on the county’s largest capital program in its history and also cited the reasons behind the county’s strong fiscal health.

Illinois – the beginning of America’s Mother Road

New pocket guide highlights iconic destinations in Illinois along historic Route 66

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     A partnership between Will County and the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has produced a new pocket guide which highlights locations along the Illinois portion of historic Route 66. The guide gives a detailed listing of restaurants and other iconic sights along the first interstate roadway in the United States.

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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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