Baltimore lost a good friend last week. William Donald Schaefer was the Mayor of Baltimore, twice. He was the Governor of the State of Maryland, twice. He was the Comptroller of Maryland, twice.This morning, his body was taken to lie in state at the Maryland State House, the oldest in continual use in the USA. From Annapolis, Schaefer’s body was driven back to Baltimore, the city he loved with all of his heart and soul. He was a true public servant. He was not interested in self-promotion or self-glorification, but the betterment of the city and its people. His “do it now” mandates ensured that pot holes were filled, trash was removed and lights were glowing. His Order of the Rose campaign rewarded home-owners who kept their lawns tidy and their gardens blooming, with a little certificate of appreciation. What was especially poignant, and a fitting tribute, was the tour of Baltimore taken by the motorcade carrying his body and some of his close friends. There were stops at many of the places that now define Baltimore, but were his ideas, and at other places which he just loved. At the National Aquarium, where Schaefer once donned a Victorian-era swim suit and jumped in the seal pool, the staff came out and tipped their hats to him.
At Old Saint Paul’s Church, where his funeral will take place on Wednesday, and where he and my father attended 8:00 a.m. services every Sunday for many, many years. In Mount Vernon, a neighbourhood filled with cultural institutions, which he supported both as Mayor and Governor, the motorcade passed sidewalks filled with people paying their respects. On Federal Hill, with a view of the “new” city, with its vast changes in the past 30 years, many directly as a result of Mayor Schaefer’s broad thinking and vision.
And returning to City Hall, where it all began so many years ago, first as a city councilman, then as President of the City Council and finally as Mayor of the city he loved. He will lie in state at City Hall, before being buried on Wednesday.
William Donald Schaefer, we all loved you…and you loved us. Rest in Peace, Your Honour.