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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

Healthy Homes/Healthy Families

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     The Will County Center for Community Concerns will be hosting its fifth annual "Healthy Homes Healthy Familes event from 9am until noon, on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the ATI Field Memorial Stadium, 3000 W. Jefferson Street in Joliet. 

     Bring the family and learn important information about healthy living and safety. 

Exploring Careers in Energy

A Networking Event

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Get the scoop from industry professionals about rewarding careers in the Energy Industry. This is a unique networking opportunity to explore various career pathways as well as the education and training needed to get there. 

Sponsored by Joliet Junior College and the Workforce Investment Board of Will County. 

Mobile Workforce Center’s October schedule announced

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The Mobile Workforce Center’s October 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.

Will County Executive Walsh presents FY 2016 annual budget

Plans include maintaining sound fiscal policies; updating county facilities

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     At today’s Will County Board meeting, County Executive Larry Walsh presented his budget proposal for the 2016 fiscal year. The budget plan totals $482 million and includes a corporate fund of $194 million and special funds of $288 million.

     “This year’s budget is balanced and reflects Will County’s strong financial base,” Walsh said. “The budget I am recommending outlines the next steps we must take to keep our county moving forward on a sound fiscal path.”

Will County’s Recyclepalooza being held on Sept. 12th at Sharefest in New Lenox

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     During this year’s Sharefest in New Lenox, Will County Green will host a Recyclepalooza event from 8am until 3pm on Sat. Sept. 12 at Spencer School, 1711 Spencer Road.  This event will collect household hazardous materials and other recyclable items.

     Due to the increased popularity of this event, Sharefest organizers have extended the activities over several days. Will County collection and recycling events will take place only on Sept. 12. On Sept. 19, Sharefest activities will include a blood drive, a food drive, and a health and safety fair.

     Electronics, such as computers, televisions, printers, radios, phones, VCRs, microwaves, vacuums and more, will also be accepted only on Sept. 12. Other items accepted on Sept. 12 include foam plastic, wood, and carpet. 

Will County offers residents spay/neuter discount for pets in October

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 Will County residents who have their pets spayed or neutered at participating veterinary offices in October can receive a $40 county-sponsored discount. 

     The discount applies for up to two animals per household and is exclusively for pet owners who live in Will County. More than 11,000 pets have been treated since the program began in 2007. 

Will County Receives Grant to Support Paratransit Services

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 Will County has received a $139,261 grant from the Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging in support of the Will-Ride transit program. According to Will County Executive Larry Walsh, this grant will help fund the paratransit services available to the elderly, disabled, and low-income residents in Will County.
     “We have been working for a number of years to improve transit services to underserved areas of Will County,” said Walsh. “The announcement of these grants funds to Will County is a great step forward as we continue to improve coordination of services among several communities across the county. Safe, accessible, reliable transportation is critical to preserving quality of life for some of our most vulnerable residents. We are fortunate to receive this grant to help maintain this service.”
 

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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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