Will County Executive Larry Walsh died Wednesday. He was 72.
Walsh, first sworn in as Will County executive in December 2004, was battling prostate cancer and was in home hospice, said his friend Jim Murphy.
Murphy said he and Walsh first connected through the ad agency Murphy started with his wife, Vicki Murphy, 25 years ago.
“Even when you know death is imminent, it’s still a shock,” Murphy said. “There will never be another one like him.”
Murphy said he and his wife recently visited Walsh at his Elwood home. They only planned to drop in for a short time but ended up staying an hour and a half.
“It really invigorated him,” said Murphy, who told of Walsh’s spirit of bipartisanship.
“Republican or Democrat, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone he didn’t do something for,” said Murphy, who was also the Joliet Township Democratic chairman.
Walsh’s career in public service dates back to the 1970s. He served as a member of the Elwood School Board, as Jackson Township supervisor, twice as a Will County Board member and as an Illinois state senator for the 43rd District from 1997 to 2005.
Walsh’s family has also been active in public life. One son, Larry Walsh Jr., represents the 86th District in the Illinois House of Representatives. Another son, Shawn Walsh, is the elected regional superintendent of schools for Will County.
Walsh had six children and 20 grandchildren.
While funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, Murphy said they won’t do Walsh the justice he deserves.
“Unfortunately, there won’t be a funeral to hold all the people who are ready and able to tell their Larry Walsh stories due to the COVID-19 virus,” he said.