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Thousands Say Their Last Goodbye To Schaefer

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(Credit: CBS)

(Credit: CBS)

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was a who’s who of Maryland that packed William Donald Schaefer’s funeral.

Mike Hellgren reports Schaefer told it like it was and that’s what they liked about him.

“I said, ‘Well, Mayor Schaefer, what advice do you have?’ And he said, ‘Well, the first thing, you don’t want to get in this business unless you want to help and care about people,'” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland.

Among the mourners were top lawmakers on the national scene.

“I think it’s a testimony to the people of the city and the people of the state knew that William Donald Schaefer cared about them,” said U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip.

Sports legends were there, too.

“I just wanted to come in and say, ‘I was just thinking about you. Thought I’d come in and say hello,'” said Lenny Moore, former Colt.

And even educators were there.

“He would love this celebration, and this recognition that people understood his motivation, and it was all about caring about people and doing the right thing,” said Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland Schools Superintendent.

“This is a man who just wanted to make people’s lives more comfortable, and the city that he loved, better,” said Commissioner Fred Bealefeld, Baltimore City Police.

Former lawmakers were in attendance, too.

“Of course, I went to him when I was mayor to get his advice, and he gave some great advice about if you’re passionate and you love this city, make sure nobody makes excuses, get the job done,” said Sheila Dixon, former Mayor of Baltimore.

“If he thought you were operating outside your heart, he would never forgive you, and as a result, he never viewed life as a function of Republicans and Democrats, it was always, ‘Are you doing the right thing, are you trying to help people,'” said Former Governor Robert Ehrlich.

Schaefer influenced a generation of public servants. He loved Baltimore, and Wednesday we saw how much Baltimore loved him.

“I think he deserves it. I really do. I think what he did during his life is what made this turnout because he took care of everybody. He loved people,” said former Governor Marvin Mandel.

Click here for more  memories from Maryland dignitaries, including Commissioner Fred Bealefeld, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and public relations executive Sandy Hillman.

Complete coverage continues with Adam May, who has reaction from constituents.

They left their neighborhoods and office buildings to line the streets around City Hall.

“I’m very sad,” said one female constituent. “We’re losing a great person.”

Hundreds of eyes were  staring at the front door waiting for a final glimpse of the former mayor and governor.

Robin Rider wrote a poem and put on a vintage Willie Don-style hat, handing out flowers to mark the occasion.

“I’m just here in his honor,” he said.

Motorcycles, horses and the Honor Guard all took their place, preparing for a procession through downtown to the funeral.

“I didn’t know he wanted it this way. That’s the mayor,” said a female constituent with a  laugh. “He has to say goodbye to everybody and visit every neighborhood.”

“He was the people’s mayor,” said one male constituent. “He supported his workers and the people that put him in office.”

Suddenly it was silent.

The crowd that moments earlier shared funny memories and personal encounters with the colorful politician paused, some teared up, reflecting on the man who served with pride.

“Now he starts a longer trip than he has ever taken,” Rider said.

Leaving Baltimore, the city he love so much.

A lot of city workers were there. They said he was the best mayor they ever worked for.

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