BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Beloved leader, neighbor and friend. That’s how William Donald Schaefer is being remembered. Schaefer was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Kai Jackson has more on the touching funeral service that attracted an overflow crowd.

More than 850 people were able to fit inside the church. Those who were not, overflowed into the Tremont Plaza Hotel. Others lined up on Charles Street, where the ceremony was broadcasted on loud speakers.

Members of the Maryland National Guard escorted William Donald Schaefer’s casket into old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Hundreds filled the pews to remember and honor our beloved former mayor and governor.

The ceremony began with a request from the governor, a song from Morgan State University Choir.

Former aide and friend Lainy LeBow-Sachs was always by his side, professionally and personally until the end. She delivered the first of three heart-felt eulogies.

“My professional obsession transitioned into a personal one that never stopped until the final moment of his life when I sat there holding his hand, telling him how much I loved him and watched him take his final breath,” LeBow-Sachs said.

William Donald Schaefer is responsible for everything that is Baltimore today. He grew up on Edgewood Street in West Baltimore.

Schaefer, 89, died April 18. He was Baltimore’s mayor from 1971 to 1986 and governor from 1987 to 1995. A war veteran, he also served as comptroller, but he always said it was his work as mayor that he loved the most.

“When future generations peak through the telescope of history, let them say of him that when it came to caring for people and communities that he did not waver, that he did not flinch, that he did not sherp his responsibilities to face the issues head on,” former Congressman Kweisi Mfume said.

 “But he would ask us, what are you doing to do to help someone today?  I know what we did yesterday.  What are you going to do tomorrow?” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Schaefer’s message in work and in life was do something good and do it now. It’s a message his colleagues and friends hope will live on forever.

“So while I am certain that he is loving every minute of this three-day celebration, I can see him pointing his finger at all of us to make sure that with all of the fanfare we don’t lose sight of what really mattered most. He wanted all of the people to remember was just two words: he cared. And we sure do. Governor. I love you very very much,” said LeBow-Sachs.

Click here for a slideshow of Schaefer’s life.

TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ)–The legendary tribute wrapped up in Baltimore County.

Derek Valcourt continues WJZ’s complete coverage from Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

The ceremony lasted only about 15 minutes. It marked the official end to a three-day-long tribute to William Donald Schaefer, a man who was a life-long public servant.

As his body was escorted into the cemetery, bagpipes played as a riderless horse followed his casket symbolizing a leader who rides no more. A 19-shot salute fired from cannons as his casket is carried in ceremony for the last time.

The flag draped over his coffin was presented to his long-time friend and trusted aide LeBow-Sachs. This final tribute, the most solemn of all had no laughs, only a few tears, as mourners are left with a Maryland state helicopter fly-over and memories of the man they loved.

“He gave a lifetime of service for the people and the people repay [him] for the enormous gift of service he brought to them,” said one mourner.

“I live way on the Eastern Shore. It definitely was fitting,” said another.

“He deserved it. He did a lot for the state,” said a Maryland resident.

“We loved him,” said another.

Schaefer’s final resting place is inside a massive mausoleum, next to his lifelong partner, former first hostess of Maryland, Hilda Mae Snoops.

Comments (34)
  1. Sylvia Johnson says:

    Mr. Schaefer rested in peace!!

    1. Dawn says:

      He gave that feeling to a lot of people Jay. He always had a smile and used humor to make people feel at ease during some tense times. There will never be another William Donald Schaefer. God Bless.

  2. Jay says:

    As I sit and watch this celebration of life, I can’t help but feel like I just lost my best friend.

    1. Bel Air Steve says:

      Then you sir need more friends.

      1. Dawn says:

        Wow… really Steve? A comment like this at a time like this…

      2. sheriff says:

        Whoa Steve, that was cold. Even I feel bad for the closet queen today.

      3. AnnaM says:

        SMH(Shaking My Head)

      4. whatnow says:

        Steve – your inability to have empathy for others grieving says a lot about you, and none of it is good.

      5. mikemilord says:

        Great Comment!!1

      6. alphonso says:

        I second the notion – make some new friends

  3. Aservant2 says:

    To a great servant. “Well done.” St. Luke 19:17 “And He said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thous hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Rest in Peace.

  4. Darlene Moffett-Vlahos says:

    Mr. Mayor…………………..May you rest in peace!

  5. Shelby Dilley says:

    Your path was long but never lonely, and now you travel another road with those who have gone ahead of you. Till you come full circle and we meet again. Travel in peace. We all miss you…..

  6. Cricket Ravenscroft Hatton says:

    Baltimore and Maryland did Schaefer proud today. A beautiful service and very heart warming . You will never be forgotten because your are embedded in the hearts of all of Baltimore City. Your Father needs you home now, Rest in Peace.

  7. Debora says:

    No one person can replace you mr mayor/mr governor/mr comptroller MAY YOU REST IN PEACE JOB WELL DONE!

  8. susan says:

    As I watched the service I thought it was a beautiful tribute to Mr Schaefer. I was moved even though I have lived in AA county all my life. Thank You MR SCHAEFER and may you rest in peace next to Hilda Mae.

  9. Christiebird says:

    Does anyone remember the name of the poem about death read by the minister at the funeral for William Donald Schaefer? Even the name of the author would help.

    1. Mary says:

      Go Down Death by James Weldon Johnson

    2. williejoe says:

      Dead is dead & you’re all gonna be dead for a long time so be nice to yourself while alive…..F……k poems, they only serve to make the survivors feel good about themselves.

  10. Dave says:

    Baltimore lost it’s favorite son this week. I’m so happy I had the honor of meeting him several times over the years. Our city needs another Don Schafer right now. The corrupt city council and previous mayors have been killing our city for years. I hope and pray that someone like Mayor Schaefer comes along and takes our city back to run it with respect and passion versus greed and ignorance. RIP Mayor Schaefer. Baltimore City misses you dearly.

  11. JJ says:

    He truly cared about every Marylander and always had a vision of how GREAT Baltimore could be. Our best tribute to Mayor Schaefer is to fulfill his vision.

    He cared now we should too.. RIP Mr. Mayor.

  12. Queen Stew says:

    R.I.P. Mr. Baltimore…. God Bless You

  13. Pat says:

    I think its a darn shame that with all of the coverage the wedding of the century is getting on the national news, it would have been nice to see Mr. Schaefer make the news also. I have been watching since he passed away, and not one word was mentioned on the evening news. It is understandibly about the wars, but who needs all this wedding stuff? It was a shame, considering all the Willie Don did for us and the city of Baltimore, that being so close to Baltimore, Mr. Obama did not take time out of his jet setting to personally pay his respects. I am indeed disappointed at the national media and our own President for not showing him the respect he so greatly deserves.

  14. AnthonyBubbaGreen91 says:


    “He believed there was a God, a God who cared about people and who cared about him. That’s the way I left him. And that’s the way I’ll leave him,” said Starnes What more can you say. RIP Mayor Schaefer, you will always be Baltimore ‘s Mayor

  15. Chas says:

    When I left home for college people thought little of Baltiimore City after the Inner Harbor and all the “good” things he brought to Baltimore I was most proud to take those same people to the Inner Harbor, the Aquarium the Science Center, now Harbor East. He showed what Baltimore could and should be – Great in every way.

  16. Albert Glass says:

    God bless you, Governor Schaefer may you rest in peace.

  17. Bob says:

    I too am eager to know the title and Author of the poem read at Schaefer’s funeral

  18. David Jones says:

    Everyyhing was beautiful, but I had a thought. Would it be appropriate to have buried Governor Schaefer in a crypt below his statue at the inner harbor.

    1. Arlene Wallis says:

      Now that is a thought. We must remember that he planned his own funeral. That was probably not something he wanted.

  19. Arlene Wallis says:

    Though I was not in MD duirng your tenure as mayor or Governor, I was here during your tenure as Comptroller. I got prompt answers when I had issues..Thank you for that. Dear Sir, rest with the angels and thank you for actually making public service about the public. You are very appreciated. May God bless you on your return home!

  20. David Crosby says:

    William Donald Schaefer, Baltimore’s Best Mayor.. Thanks God for his work and made it successful such the Inner Harborplace.. He made a name for himself and it everywhere in state of Maryland.. He’s a Baltimorean native..Thanks for had him in our state.. Rest in peace, Mayor/ Gov. Schaefer..

  21. Susan Griffiths says:

    Dear Governor Mayor Schaefer,
    We, the residents of greater Baltimore, ARE your surviving family. You loved our gritty selves and we loved your unscripted devotion to our City.
    My unforgettable moment with our treasured icon was when I approached him at the Annapolis Amish Market and told him that I thought he was wonderful. He graciously shook my hand and smiled with those twinkling blue eyes.

  22. Terry says:

    I believe the author of the poem read at the funeral was James Weldon Johnson. The title was something like “Go Down to Death”. Hope this helps.

    1. Christiebird says:


      Thank you! You are correct! I’ve just read it. It is beautiful and comforting. Who would think that a poem describing the Angel of Death would be comforting? But it is.


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