BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — The body of William Donald Schaefer is back in Baltimore for one final farewell.

Schaefer lay in repose at Baltimore’s City Hall Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s funeral.

Adam May has more on how the city is remembering the man who left an indelible mark on its history.

The larger-than-life William Donald Schaefer is getting a big and heartfelt sendoff.

He spent Tuesday in City Hall, one last time, before a packed funeral Wednesday.

Members of Schaefer’s staff from his time as Baltimore mayor, and Maryland governor and comptroller, gathered early Tuesday morning at City Hall to exchange memories before a viewing began in the rotunda. Dozens of people were waiting in line when doors opened to the public.

About 500 people had signed guest books Monday evening while waiting to pay their final respects.

An amazing diversity of people is coming to say goodbye to the man who cut across race, age and income level. Many people who never knew the man want to tell the man how much he meant to this city and this state.  

“He was the grandfather of Baltimore City,” said one.

“I’m so proud to say that no matter where I go throughout the city, throughout the state, I’ve seen so much of Mayor Schaefer’s thumbprint on everything,” said Trisha Jenetski.

Schaefer loved Baltimore, and thousands of people across the city loved him so much they lined the streets on a 15-mile tour of his life.  

“I thought he was a wonderful character and there won’t be anybody like him again,” said one.

“He was a jewel for Baltimore.  He still is,” said another.

“God only made one like him.  There is no other who will be like him because he had a genuine love for people,” said another person.

For people across the city and state, losing Schaefer was like losing a member of their own family.  He was theirs and they’re having a tough time letting go.

“He was down to earth.  It’s one thing to be liked, but he was loved,” said a spectator.

“We’re just here to say how much we loved him and cared for him and we’re just grateful that he is now in heaven,” said another person.

Gunner Fisher and Leslie Londeree were two of the final visitors.

“We had to show our respects because he’s such a great man,” Fisher said.

“He just brought such life to the city, so many wonderful things for it.  He’s just irreplaceable,” Londeree said.

Cannons fired at the Inner Harbor he built, neighbors cheered outside his boyhood home in West Baltimore, and the bishop blessed him at the Basilica.

Filmmaker John Waters was among some of the people paying respect at City Hall.

“He made the whole city alive and he reinvented it and he made a lot of what it is today. I want more statues of him, on every corner,” said Waters.

Wednesday he will be serenaded into the sunset when the Morgan State choir will join powerful politicians and regular Joes at the service. 

Schaefer defined Maryland politics for his generation, and the celebration of his life shows it. Public servant #1 is gone, but he leaves behind an unforgettable legacy.

Those who knew him best say he’d love this tribute, knowing that the people he served knew how much he really cared.

“I don’t think any other politician in this state can match up to who he was, and we miss him,” said one.  “And we love him.”

A furlough day for city workers was moved up to Tuesday, to give employees the chance to pay their respects without having to take off work.

Click here to view the Schaefer slideshow.

Schaefer’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at the Old St. Paul’s Church, followed by burial at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.

WJZ will have complete coverage of Schaefer’s funeral Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation has announced the following street closures and parking restrictions:

  • Fayette Street between Gay and N. Charles Streets from 10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
  • N. Charles Street between Fayette and Mulberry Streets from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Saratoga Street between Liberty and Charles Streets from 9  a.m. – 2 p.m.

From the Department of Transportation:

“Please note that area garages located in the vicinity of the road closures listed above will be affected by the funeral service on Wednesday morning. Patrons who utilize these garages will have access to park until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Then from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., only controlled access to these garages will be allowed for those who are attending the funeral service. Patrons will be able to exit the garages at any time.

Motorists should also be aware that during times of movement for both the final tour of the city and the funeral service, there will be temporary road closures along the procession routes.”

Comments (15)
  1. reggie says:

    thanks to schaefer, I’ll always be a baltimorean even though i’m living in georgia

    1. Rosa Hopkins says:

      you’ve said a mouthful. Hope all is well Reggie.

  2. Beatrice from Middle River says:

    Schaefer was the best Mayor,and the best Governor Baltiimore every had.He really cared about Baltimore and the people.No one could ever fill his shoes.He will be truly missed.R.I.P.MR. SCHAEFER and thanks for everything you done for all of us.

  3. Mr. Moving Out says:

    wow, shut the city gov’t down to honor a closet queen that can only claim 1 great thing, the harborplace which made him and his country club cronnies rich. The rest of the city is still and always will be filthy. glad i’m getting out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Ronald Lee Norman says:

      If he was a closet Queen He was a good one for Baltimore. He did more for Baltimore then just Harbour Place. Check out the crime rate while he was the Mayor. Now that our leaving Baltimore. Don would say good bye, I am trying to gret rid of the trash.

    2. Missy (BALTIMORE) says:

      You are and always will be a complete idiot !!! Who writes stuff like this about a dead person who by the way was a great man !!
      He loved his City and his State and showed it every day..
      He wanted to create jobs and he wanted to create opportunity for all the people of Maryland. For him it was always about the people.
      He made mistakes and took missteps, but he always seemed to learn from these setbacks. He was passionate about what he did and for who he was doing it for. He gave of himself to others. He listened to the needs of others. All in all I think he was a great great Man.. MORE then I can say for you !! We are happy to see you leave and don’t ever come back you … It is not even worth it …

    3. Andy says:

      Mr. Moving Out…….you’ve proven once again, once an ahole ALWAYS an ahole!

  4. williejoe says:

    Don’t mock the dead. It is the ultimate in disrespectfulness. You sorry a$$ excuse for a human. What’s a matter, Mommy didn’t love you enough, never got that B.Job from your first girlfriend.?

  5. Jennifer says:

    Seriously the man is gone and now your going to drive him around town for what?? LIke he is going to know…bury him and let him RIP!!!

  6. Doug says:

    Now I understand the origin of putting flowers all around a corpse.
    Other wise people would have fainted from the stench of
    a decaying body.

  7. Julie says:

    When my father worked under Governor Scaefer they had the annual workers luncheon and the group photo.When Dad brought home the photo I saw he was front and center.I said why isn’t the Governor front and center instead of towards the back.My Dad said he offered the Governor his spot ,but Governor Scaefer said to him no you stay there.Despite being a politician,Donald Scaefer was at heart a modest man.

  8. Karen says:

    I think Governor or even Mayor Scaefer was a great man and he will be dearly miss by all who love him and to the people of Baltimore……….

  9. Karen Sprouse says:

    I wish I could have known Governor Schaefer in person and I’am sorry to say I didn’t but from what I hered of the man he was the best think to happen to Baltimore and he will never be forgotten and I hope he is with his mother and they are happy again we will miss you Governor Schaefer go in peace and we all will see you one day………….

  10. Araminta Ross says:

    What a nice ceremony…Morgan State Choir is the best…for all that he accomplished, he was a pretty good guy.

  11. Karen Sprouse says:

    The ceremony ig great my mom and dad are there and so many of my family is there he will rip there……..

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