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‘Regular Folks’ Remember Schaefer, A Loyal Friend

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More and more tributes are coming in for William Donald Schaefer.

The former mayor, governor and comptroller died Monday at the age of 89.

Mike Hellgren reports Schaefer knew a lot of big wigs, but he preferred the “regular folks.”

WJZ went down to Jimmy’s in Fells Point. It was one of Schaefer’s favorite spots. The people there are missing –not a big shot– but simply a good and loyal friend.

Schaefer not only devoted his life to public service, but he was a man of the people. The people who make up the fabric of Baltimore City adored him.

“William Donald Schaefer was the building block of Baltimore,” said Paul Oliver, Dalesio’s Little Italy. “There’s no question he was bricks and mortar and built this city. He loved this city. He cared for it seven days a week, 24 hours a day. That was his love.”

“We lost a great man, no doubt about it,” said one man.  “He was all about the city of Baltimore.”

You’ve heard all politics is local, but for Schaefer nothing could be more true. He was more at home in any Baltimore neighborhood than dealing with the powerbrokers in Annapolis and Washington.

“He just wanted to help people.  He was always willing to help people,” said Ron Rogers, friend.

“As far as the man himself, you wouldn’t believe he was a politician because many a time I’d sit down here with him at breakfast or lunch, and we’d talk and you wouldn’t believe he was a politician,” said Coach. “He’s down to earth. He’d talk to you like I’m talking to you.”

“He would call you names.  That was just part of the game.  But you always wanted to come back,” said Fraser Smith, WYPR Senior News Analyst

Schaefer was one-of-a-kind, and the kind of public servant that is rare these days.

“I can honestly say he had no regrets with what he did in life,” Rogers said.

He never forgot who he worked for and they’ll never forget him.

“He embodied what Baltimore is all about–the work ethic, blue-collar.  Everyone had a chance with him. He’s a man that really embodied his job.  They were one in the same,” said Jimmy Filipidis, Jimmy’s owner.

Jimmy’s had Schaefer’s breakfast sitting at the usual table, complete with lottery scratch-offs next to the plate of eggs and toast–just as he liked it.

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