By Kai Jackson

Share Your Memories About Former Governor William Donald Schaefer At The Bottom Of This Page Following Other Readers’ Comments

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — William Donald Schaefer, the man who singlehandedly transformed the state of Maryland and who served as mayor, governor and comptroller, has died at the age of 89.  Flags across the state are flying at half-staff in honor of Schaefer.

Kai Jackson has reaction to his passing.

Schaefer is linked to the most recognizable landmarks in the city–the Inner Harbor, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the National Aquarium just to name a few.

A larger than life icon in Maryland politics, Schaefer died Monday in his Baltimore County retirement home at the age of 89.

“I was there when he passed away.  I was holding his hand,” said his longtime aide Lainy LeBow-Sachs.  “All day long, I was saying how much I loved him and what he meant to me.”

He served four terms as mayor, two as governor, then two as comptroller.

“He was a person who had pretty strong opinions, and he was a person who was not shy about sharing them,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

“He admired a fighter, as long as it was for the people.  If you were fighting for yourself, he had no business with you,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski, who will speak at his funeral.  “He was a friend but he was friend to a lot of people.  He was a friend to the cab driver, the waiters, the top leadership.  He knew everybody but most of all, he worked to know them.”

Schaefer was born in Baltimore on Nov. 2, 1921. His mother was a housewife, his father a lawyer. He served in the Army and later followed in his dad’s footsteps becoming a lawyer, but his calling was helping people–in politics.

Schaefer is as legendary for what he got done, as he is for how he got it done. He hated bureaucracy and wasn’t afraid to say so.

“He was the only mayor I knew, up until high school. He really set the standard, putting his footprint all around Baltimore City. And again, being a visionary leader with a ‘get it done’ attitude,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Schaefer had recently been treated for pneumonia and his long-time aide LeBow-Sachs was holding his hand as he died.

“For all of the various titles he held, there wasn’t a person in the city of Baltimore that didn’t feel like they couldn’t stop and approach him with a problem and that he wouldn’t follow up. They knew he would,” said O’Malley.  “For all his impatience with excuses and bureaucracy, he always had time for a citizen.  He went to work every day doing the work of the people.”

Schaefer’s long-time friend and first press secretary, Michael Golden first met the governor in the 1970s.

“He looked at all of us, those of us who worked for him, and those of us that he served as his family. That was his life. That was what drove him 24- 7,” said Michael Golden, first press secretary.

“The one thing that I noticed about William Donald Schaefer was he was big so the city would be big. He used all of his personality to promote the city because he had a deep faith that Baltimore’s best days were yet to come,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake.

O’Malley says Schaefer was a person who was “impatient with slowness in government” but who always had time for the people he served.

“And we’re all going to miss him and at the same time I think all of us can feel grateful for the service that he gave to all of us in his distinguished career,” said O’Malley.

Click here to read well wishes. 

Schaefer never married and doesn’t leave behind a big family.  His longtime companion, First Hostess Hilda Mae Snoops, died 12 years ago.

“He loved her so much; they went back and forth like an old married couple,” said Baltimore City Council Member Mary Pat Clarke.  “We lost a lot.  We owe it to him and ourselves to pick up his legacy and carry it on.”

Schaefer was educated in Baltimore schools. He graduated from City College in 1939. 

In November 2009, Schaefer was honored with a statue at Harborplace, one of his proudest accomplishments.  The ceremony was one of his last public appearances.

Rawlings-Blake declared a moment of silence for the governor’s passing at 9 a.m. Tuesday. She urged residents,visitors and friends of the city to participate in remembering Schaefer as “one of the greatest mayors in American history.” Rawlings-Blake says the biggest gift he gave Baltimore was a spirit that the city had a promising future.

Schaefer will lie in repose Monday, April 25 at the State House and Tuesday, April 26 at Baltimore’s City Hall. His funeral will be on April 27 at 11 a.m. at the Old St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore, and he will be buried later that afternoon at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. Click here for funeral plans.

Click here for a slideshow of Schaefer’s life.

Comments (105)
  1. Steve says:

    WOW….Where did all the comments go? I agree that William Donald Schaefer was the best Mayor n Governor for Bltimore, Maryland. He would’ve make a good President…Somebody said to me that Ronald Reagan and Jesse Ventura would’ve make a great team…..I let people be the judge

  2. A Tearful Brother says:

    A fine example of a Free Mason. Always ready to stretch fourth his hand and be ever ready to assist someone. May you wear the Badge of a Mason forever proudly. You will be missed Brother.

    1. Marilyn Dash says:

      I,Marilyn Dash,Didn’t know that he was a Mason,half of my family were Masons.I will always remember Mayer,Governor Scaffer as a very fine & frendly person! Most recently He was at my motherin laws PROMOTION TO Full COLONER IN THE ARMY& MDs NATIONAL GUARD. That was very special to me! I will always remember seing him since my family moved herei 1971 My father is now retired Army .llt.Colernal.
      HE will be greatly missed. Marilyn Dash

  3. sheriff willie says:

    The WJZ Nazi police came & took them all away as usual. Schaefer was controversial as a public figure alright & he spoke his mind & people knew where they stood with him. I like that honesty about him, his views on illegals & speaking english when being served by a foreigner. He was a fair minded man & you obeyed the letter of the law, just look back in history & all the porch monkeys kept their place when Willie-Don headed up the city. As a governor, he helped bring football back to Baltimore. Good for the morale & business but stiffed the general public when we the taxpayers had to build a stadium for many that will never be able to afford to see a game. Camden yds? Another good accomplishment. Where are the leaders today? Since Schaefer, we have had a Schmuck (Shmoke), a few crooks & now a handicapped mayor who’s afraid to offend her own race….So sad. What happened to ye Baltimore my Baltimore?

    1. Debbie says:

      WOW…You could have kept most of that to yourself!!!!!

      1. sheriff willie says:

        Debbie, Why? Its common knowledge & besides it’s the truth.

  4. sheriff willie says:

    As a follow up to my previous comment, Schaefer would not have made a good president. As a marrer of fact he was somewhat over his head as Governor & his last term in office was disastrous at the end. Schaefer was a hands on control guy & as Governor he needed to relinquish that power & consolidate it. He was a small town person who lived with a close inner circle of friends & his beloved Hilda May. A very parochial style leader.

    1. Joe says:

      That’s not the only reason why Schaefer did not run for President. He had control and a very powerfull enflunce on ALL the media outlets within the Maryland broaders except the News American. Of course those of us who can remember knew what happen to the News Amreican….publishing unpopular news agains’t Schaefer and his cronies. However Scheafer knew if he ran “national” that the media outside the Maryland broaders could and would expose all those skelitins in Scheafers closet. Too much at risk with a dead reporter from his past.

  5. Wayne &Glenda Hock says:

    Every once in a while a good ethical public leader comes along, That would be William Donald schafer. To bad Maryland hasn’t seen one since Rest in Peace .

    1. D Woodard says:

      when William Donal Schafer left off>>>Baltimore & All Of Maryland >>was never the same ! May he Rest in Peace 4 All His Hard Work & 4 All He Did 4 Baltimore & All Of Maryland

  6. mike freeland says:

    Well, in all honesty, @ 45 years of age, I feel this was by far the best Mayor Baltimore had. Sure Schmoke brought the NFL back but that is minor compared to the works Mr Schaefer did in his career. I could say all the things that everyone will say about how awesome Baltimore looks thanks to him. however, i would like to make it more personal by saying ” Thanks for giving me my first summer job that kept me out of trouble and made me proud to be able to bring home a check as a young teenager when my friends played is the school yard all day. Thank you…Oh, and thanks for showing us that even when we men get old, we still have a little tiger in our You will be missed!

  7. Bernice Payne-Gales says:

    Shelly Gales

    I thought Schaefer was a great Mayor for Baltimore. He showed by his actions that he loved Baltimore and would do any and everything to support his beloved city. My mom loved him for his support of Baltimore’s senior citizens. I so agreed with the stance he took when it came to illegals working in the city, but unable to speak the language. I saw him a lot when he visited the State Office Preston street complex, and he was always friendly to everyone. He was a great Mayor, Govenor and Comptroller, but his greatest role was being a wonderful human being! May his soul rest in peace!

  8. Mark Payne says:

    I grew up in Bsltimore city and remember then Mayor living a few blocks away. I was so impressed a I walked to my bus stop, I would see his limo come by and pick him up each morning. I will remember him as “the mayor among the people” RIP

    1. Chaundrae Gordon says:

      I also lived about two blocks away from Mayor William Donald Schaefer and remember the limo picking him up while I stood on the bus stop. My mother, Ethel Gordon, I believe still has a taping (on a motion projector, remember those) of the then Mayor and I breaking ground for The Mary E. Rodman Recreation Center. Thanks for the memories…RIP In my eyes, no one is perfect so to all those that gave a negative talk, you didn’t have to take that walk. WWYD (What Would You Do) … Oh well, doesn’t matter, we’ll never know !!!! For the age of that man and to look back and see and hear everything that this man touched & worked for in BALTIMORE, MD……He was awesome I believe wholeheartedly !!!

  9. Chris says:

    I grew up in Baltimore not far from where Memorial Stadium used to stand. I stayed in Baltimore until I was 19 and back then it was a wonderful place to grow up. Schaefer did everything he could to make Baltimore a nice place and he wanted everyone to be proud of it. I don’t think that we will ever see that kind of devotion again. Baltimore has become a not very nice place to live and everytime I go there and see the landfill that it has become I think that he would be ashamed. It would be nice if people would pull together and try to make it a nice place again in his memory.

    1. Marilyn Dash says:

      Boy,don’tII”I,Marilyn,agree,with you!He madeThis city out of a trash dump ,that it was used to be,and then the idiots who are there now have trashed it up again!I don’t want to go there any more.All I can think and say is WHY OH WHY!!! WHAT and AND WHERE IS THEIR MENTALITY? May They AlLL ROT IN HELL!! Who needs Then? We Don’t.

  10. Martin Richardson says:

    What I see was a person at the public trough for 40 plus years that used other peoples money to benefit his cronney friends. I wonder who is going to benefit from his fat pension.

    1. Martha says:

      What a bitter old man yu must be!! Donald Schaefer was the most honest person in politics in this country and worked very hard to the benefit of Baltimore for most of his life. So, what have you done for society lately??

    2. babs says:

      Martin, I agree with you. He wasn’t for the state employees and took away many benefits. People out there should try living on a small stipend of their pension because of the former governor . We have to pay for our insurance at a much higher rate than current state employees. Baltimore City in my opinion is a living hellhole and drug infested place. Thank God I don’t live there. It’s ironic that Shaeffer ending up living in a reitremnet community in Baltimore County and not his Baltimore City.

      1. Alla Bradley says:

        He created jobs when he built up downtown.

      2. Richard Crystal says:

        Thanks, Babs! I feel it was so right that God chose to take WDS from this earth at Easter time. Because judging from the pages and pages and pages of copy about him in the Sun and the non-stop news coverge all day, every day, I’m quite certain that after he is interred for 3 days he surely will rise from the dead.

    3. Alla Bradley says:

      your an ah

  11. Donna says:

    My Father knew Mr. Schaefer in the old days. Dad was a Baltimore City Police Officer, and spoke og the many times he would have lunch with Mr. Schaefer. Dad said Mr. Schaefer was a man’s man, he had time for everyone, even the little people. He wasn’t in it for himself or a select few – he was there for anyone who needed him. Mr. Schaefer did volumes for Baltimore and Maryland, I think he had fun doing it – he taught us to love life and to care about the other person – unlike our current politicians( the I/me people). Dad and Mr. Schaefer are again having lunch, cracking jokes, and solving the traumas of our all too impersonal times. William Donald Schaefer will be missed – God bless him for his many humanitarian endeavours, the acceptance of people as they were, the lessons he taught people about taking care of each other, and that a smile was a good thing. You will be missed by this Baltimore birned and raised girl.

  12. bob gray says:

    I feel like my father died . opened the morning paper and the tears just started flowing.

  13. Lady Shirley says:

    Don was a family friend for the last 36 years and he will be sorely missed. He has done so much for Baltimore and the state. He was relentless in his hard work for people everywhere and it showed. He was friendly, spoke his mind and stood up for average people. If only more politicians had his outlook, drive and determination. May he now rest in peace.

  14. susan says:

    Mr. Schaefer did do alot of good for the city of Baltimore. I do remember him going into the water because the aquarium did not open when it should have. Iliked the fact that he wore that striped swimsuit and carrying the rubber duck. RIP Mr. Schaefer.

  15. j says:

    baltimore could use another one like him,right now rip

  16. Lourdes says:

    Schaffer is the ONE that transformed Baltimore into what she stands for today.
    Our government would benefit from having a hundred more Schaeffer’s in office. We definitely need more politicians like him.

    1. Jay says:

      So, Donald Schaffer is the one that transformed Baltimore into what it is today? If that is the case, he didn’t leave a very good legacy. The ONLY thing Baltimore has become and is, is a crime and drug infested DUMP!

  17. Michael says:

    He brought back pride to the city and this state.

  18. Infradant Richard Phillips says:

    He will be dearly missed by all

  19. Deb says:

    When Mr. Schaefer was mayor the city had pride. Our neighborhoods were beautiful. Now the city has become one big trash heap. RIP Mr. Schaefer, you are now in a City paven in Gold and free of trash.

  20. Leigh Ann Erdman says:

    William Donald Schaefer, loved his Baltimore and loved his state. He served with a passion and a love for the citizens that has not been seen since. While he served, people were proud to be from “Bawlmer.” No one have even come close since his leadership and we have lost some of the ground he succeeded in bringing to this state. Love him or hate him, his number one priority and passion was “his people.” More political leaders in this state and city should take a lesson from that history book. Rest in Peace, WDS.

  21. Joan Brown says:

    Mr. Schaefer held many titles yet was a caring man always lending a helping hand. Never afraid to speak his min, he made all of laugh.. Although his accomplishments will remind us of a true hero!! Because of him, we can be proud of Baltimore City and Maryland. When viisting his accomphishments we can proud he brought pride to Baltimore and Maryland!! A true hero was called home but his memory will remain with all of us>

  22. bren says:

    Peace and Blessing to his family!

  23. N says:

    As a young person living in Baltimore I saw The legend many times out and about ,talking to citizens and really listening , I had a aunt who worked for Baltimore City Rec and Parks for years and the one thing I always heard from her was “If I need something I need to call Schaefer ” and you know what she would call and it would happen. I’m sure now that Heaven has got it’s first Mayor .Baltimore City ,no Maryland has lost a true treasure. No I must take that back because as long as there is a Baltimore City there will always be a William Donald Schaefer.

  24. SallyG says:

    I remember Donald Schaefer well. Under his leadership, Baltimore was a great place. I worked in Baltimore for several years, and afterwards would go to Baltimore once or twice a week. It was a good city. Now, I avoid the place. It has become a dump….dangerous and dirty. It no longer is the place it once was. The leadership is poor, and they have run the city into the ground. It’s a shame….because I remember what it once was!

  25. Big Mac says:

    Don Schaefer was just as much responsible for the Colts leaving Baltimore in 1984 as was the Baltimore City Council, the State Assembly, the NFL and Tiger Bob. While Don was splashing around in the aquarium, Indy was building a new stadium to lure the Colts out of an old and updated concrete dump-Memorial Stadium.

    Don was also on the city council when the civic center (the 12,000 seat dump) was contructed. What has that awful arena cost Baltimore-hundreds of great concerts, a 1968 NHL expansion team, the Bullets (remember them) and countless other sporting events.

    Wasn’t Don the mayor when the convention center was built? Again what a waste of money. The Convention Center is simply too small and outdated. No vision!!!!! The new arena should have gone up in that location in 1979.

    Oh yes Don was truly a great major and governor! Not!!!!!!

    1. amy w says:

      Geez, Big Mac.. the man is dead. Let him RIP.. IT sounds like YOU could have done a much better job than he did (well, at least you THINK you could have).. why don’t you run for mayor or gov or comptroller? go for it and let’s see how many people remember all of the wonderful things you did and your positive upbeat attitude when you pass. I highly doubt it… Oh wait, or as you would say NOT!!!

    2. Sandy says:

      And what exactly have you done for your community, city and or state lately?

  26. Tabbykat says:

    Let him rest in peace.He was a great guy,no matter what anyone says he took a stand ,and stood by it.Condolences to his family and friends,he will be missed.

  27. ed sullivan says:

    this sheriff willie is an ass hole if he did one tenth of what MR SHAFFER has done for our city and state and if other people that are in office now were like MR SHAFFER THE PEOPLE IN OUR CITY AND STATE would be better off then we are

  28. Zantepe says:

    Like all men, Mr Schaffer had good and bad points. Like few men, he was willing to stand up and allow the public to see both. He cared deeply about the city, the state and people in general. A top politician not afraid of getting up early, not for the “on the constituents” money breakfast, but to ride a garbage truck to see and hear what was REALLY going on in his home town, not just what the YES Boys wanted him to know or see. This state, this country could use a lot more like him. Blessings to his family and friends. Prayers that his tomb stone says as he wished, HE CARED. May he rest in peace, with grateful thanks from all of us who benefited from his great passion and care.

  29. Jimmy L. says:

    1984- The Mayor asks me why I am running around the inner harbor with my friends when I should be in school. He yells at me, tells me to get my butt back to class.

    1997- The former Gov. drops in to my classroom at the Univ. of Md. at College Park, looks at me, and asks me how we know each other. I remind him. He laughs, and points out it looks like I did get back to school after all.

    1999- At a harvest for the hungry gala in Baltimore, I run into him again. He looks at my rather attractive date, and says ” See? Pretty girls like the guys who stay in school.”

    RIP Governor, I will always remember you.

    1. whatnow says:

      Your post brings tears to me eyes. Thank you for sharing. I think your post alone shows the essence of the man.

  30. Nancy Packie Brown says:

    My father had known William Donald Schaefer through the Baltimore Streetcar Museum where he had been a volunteer. When he passed away in May of 1997 Mr. Schaefer wrote a letter of sympathy to my mother. No other official would have done that! He was a GREAT man and will definitely be missed by all those who appreciated him.

  31. Teresa Thompson-Hall says:

    God bless the family. R.I.P. William Donald Schaefer
    Job Well Done!!!!

  32. Adam Parks says:

    I remember growing up in Harford County, in Joppatowne, always tuning in to the evening Baltimore news, and there was Mayor Schaefer, promoting the city of Baltimore with wide eyed enthusiasm and vigor. He was a staple icon for the City of Baltimore, later the state of Maryland. He felt like a part of my family, his love for the city bringing about an endearing sense of local pride that stretched beyond the state boundary. He had a promotional tie to Ocean City as well. I got the impression that that was his favorite place to vacation in his off time. I don’t live in Maryland anymore, but whenever I would think of my home state, William Donald Schaefer was the iconic political figurehead I remember the most. Rest in peace, Mr. Schaefer. You will be sorely missed.

  33. David says:

    In my 50 years of life, I have always felt that Governor Schaefer was the only Mayor of Baltimore to actually accomplish anything of value. As Governor he also did a great job. It feels that since he left each position, the city and state have been in a downward spiral. God bless him and his family.

  34. Brenda says:

    RIP William Donald Schaefer. It was a pleasure to meet you and interview you for the radio show “Eye on Seniors” in December 2007. You were a man who took pride in his roots and was never afraid to speak his mind.

    God’s Peace ~

  35. PMCAW says:

    Baltimore is a little less charming now…RIP Willie Don

  36. PAT says:


  37. Charlie says:

    Its was great to come ot Baltimore and see a mayor who cared for his city.
    All mayors should care as much as he di d. He was proud of his city and the people appreciated his service. He will be missed and thosethat came after him will never be able to do what he did for Batlimore. Thanks Don you did a great job.

  38. AL Harris says:

    I first met William Schaefer as a neighbor on Edwood Street , I lived on Edmondson Avenue , and could walk to his back door at any time. Under his leadership I became Housing Chairman of Model Cities Area G, an Educator for Baltimore City Schools, and a damn fine citizen of the City of Baltimore. I’ll never forget the fights we had, when I as a Union Rep would argue our cause during the bvuilding of the Inner Harbor. No matter how nuch we (BTU) voiced our objectuions he sternly opposed and continued with the construction; this cost educators 8 years of no pay increase. William Donald you will be truly missed.

  39. wanda says:

    I believe that Governor/Mayor Schaefer was a really great man, not just for Baltimore but the whole state. I liked his outspoken ways and the way he would take a stand and not buckle under ridicule. Wish there were more like him, at least we knew where we stood with him. May God welcome you home.

  40. amy w says:

    I LOVED Willy Don. To say he was outspoken is an understatement but honestly that is what we need in a great leader nowadays.. I’m sick of the cr*p we have in government offices right now– always tip toeing around not wanting to say anything to hurt anyone’s feelings. He said it like it was.. He was awesome!! I would have loved to have seen him as president.. Now that is a man who would have changed this country that we live in that is so messed up today. RIP WDS, and thanks for what you did for the people of Balto

  41. David says:

    The end of an era. Governor Schaefer was a honest man, sometimes too honest. He said what he felt weather you agreed or disagreed with him, I think everyone liked him. He will be missed.

    PS Thank you for your many years of service.

  42. D. Browm says:

    Every politician should hope to equal his accomplishments. Say it, mean it and do it!!
    The best government offical in the state of Maryland, bar none! RIP Willie Don!

  43. Somebody says:

    rip Don, Maryland could only beg and scream to find another who could come close to you.

  44. Baltimorebob says:

    Well he is gone now the great man he was he is one of a kind we will never fourget you rest in peace and you will be missed ty

  45. Leslie says:

    Mr. Schaefer you will truly be missed. You were a blessing to the city and state. You knew how to get the work done that needed to be done. May god bless you and rest in peace. For all of you with the negative comments, you should keep them to yourself. Would you like it if someone spoke about a deceased family member of yours like that. Be courteous and respectful to everyone, that’s what is wrong with the world today.

  46. James says:

    Wow! I remember when I was a student at Calverton Junior High School back in the early 1980s.. I had written an essay about the importance of the United Nations and my school had submitted my essay into some kind of writing contest. Even though I didn’t win, I remember receiving a letter from Mayor Schaefer congratulating me for my effort anyway. He made us all proud to be Baltimoreans and will surely be missed.

  47. SEZMANE says:

    Truly a statesman the best mayor we had instrumental in getting the Ravens here!

  48. Bea says:

    Rest in peace Don Schaefer. You were an angel here and now you are an angel in heaven

  49. William Rusell says:

    Colonel Schaefer was my Executive Officer in the Army Reserves in the 60’s. I have nothing but the highest regard for him as a person and a leader. He stood up for his men and wouldn’t let them be used by other officers for duties out of their realm. He lived what he preached and didn’t ask of others what he himself wouldn’t do. He loved his city and state and gave his all.

  50. Mike says:

    It was my first time at the city fair a light rain was falling and I put my hood
    up. Walking and looking around at the people, lights and music.. not paying attention to what was around me I literally bumped into William Donald Shaffer. Dumbfounded we both stood and looked at each other for a moment and I apologized nervously “I’m sorry” to which he replied “That’s ok son, I wasn’t paying attention either”. The bodyguards that surrounded him asked it he was ok and he replied “yes, I’m fine” and he continued walking. I stood there and he turned back and waved and i sheepishly waved back knowing that I had just bumped into the Mayor of Baltimore. This is something that could never happen in today’s world.

  51. Lisa says:

    He was my Mayor… least the only one I really knew, since he served as Mayor from the time I was in 1st grade until I graduated from high school. My foundest memory is singing the jingle …….”Mayor Schaefer…..He’s for you!” Because he truly was a man of the people.

  52. D says:

    When Gov/Mayor Schaefer would come to parades, I can remember him always wanting to try to do whatever the group was doing. He alwsya wanted to try new things and be involved. He wasn’t shy about anything and not afraid to shake anyone’s hand or walk over to speak to you. Many times he would hold up the parade just to be a people politician. He will surely be missed and I hope the politicians of today could learn something from him. RIP and please give us in the future.

  53. Robin Davidson says:

    Mr. William Donald Schaefer… Where do I start?? I have already cried so many tears since the news of his death on Monday night. What a man Mr. Schaefer was!! I have nothing but good things to say about the man. He was an excellant mayor for the City of Baltimore because he genuinely cared for EVERYONE! No matter shape, size or figure, he JUST CARED!! My conclusion is Mr. William Donald Schaefer.. you may be gone… but never EVER FORGOTTEN!!

  54. Kathy Thompson says:

    The first time I met Mr Schaefer was when I was 5yrs old and my poppop took me to City Hall and he said ,”he had to stop in to see his friend.” I was totaly amazed that he had a friend that lived in that big pretty house. When went up to this office and my poppop said hi to his secretary and ask if he could see William.I could remember thinking who is this man,and we walked into the office and it was Mayor William Donald Schaefer. He was so nice to me they took me on a tour of city hall and then my poppop and him sat and talked about the old days because they went to school together. Everytime I would see Mr.Schaefer I always thought back to when I was a little girl and how nice he was.
    Now all I think about his him in heaven with old friends and loved ones.
    God Bless him, He’ll never be forgotten

  55. Steven G Shipley says:

    May God Bless you, William Donald Schaefer, the people’s mayor and governor who loved the people who loved and voted him into his offices. If only the senators and congressman of today could follow after his example!!!!!! We will always remember and miss you.

    1. Kritikal says:

      The William Donald Schaefer that I’ll always remember is the one who, in his later years, would come to the Forest Diner on Route 40 across from the Enchanted Forest for his Sunday lunch. He always came with his driver to this very popular and very busy diner. He’d work his way through the waiting crowd and tell the woman at the register, “Put me on the waiting list, Barbara.” And he would wait his turn, even though everyone in the restaurant would have wanted him to go to the head of the line. Bumping the line was not his style.

  56. fraught says:

    One of the best.

  57. Steven Cville says:

    Baltimore has the Inner Harbor because of him, sports fans have Camden Yards and Ravens Stadium because of him. He cared for people not the party line as most politicians like O’Malley .
    The reason we have Football period is because the deal he set out for an expansion team was so great that when we did not get one an owner had to grab it up in time.
    The man sold Pot holes once
    While Mayor he made a difference and you can see it everyday, as Governor things run fairly for both parties doing redistricting he worked with H. Bently an did it right. Not like they are trying to do it now to get rid of more Republicans by redrawing to get them out of office.

  58. Ros says:

    I remember when Mr. Schaefer sold tickets at The Baltimore City Fair one year.


  59. CB says:

    Looking back on the life of Wm. Donald Schaefer I am reminded it is more important to take a stand for a cause or people than to worry or fight over ones political affiliation. This lesson is one we all could learn from today. His life was an example of this very belief everyday. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Governor, You will be missed.

  60. Jean Brown says:

    Wylliam Donakd Schaefer Rest in Peace…….Jesus is very lucky because he has the best Baltimore has to offer……. All of Maryland is crying today because we lost a “GREAT” Man…….He was a friend to all people amd he loved Maryland. RIP and God Bless You

  61. MERRILL A. HDRY says:


    1. Jay says:

      You need to get a life. The People who are from Baltimore need to get a life. If Don Sschaffer was so great, then WHY name that dump called the Inner Harbor after him?????

      People speak of him like he was a member of their family or personal friend of theirs……Pa’lease!!

      1. Darryl says:

        you’re an angry man jay and it has nothing to do with the late, great, W.D.Schaefer.

        I hope you get the help you need …and a life.

        R.I.P. Don

      2. mamacat says:

        You don’t really deserve a reply – but I have to anyway. Where are YOU from Jay? When’s the last time you did anything to clean up where you live? Do you even pick up any trash that you see as you are walking by, or do you just throw your cig. butts out the window as you drive by? If you don’t like the dump called the Innter Harbor, then just please LEAVE! We CAN do better without you!! Really – – – we can. Any BTW, it’s SCHAEFER – not Sschaffer!!

  62. Dustin White says:

    I remember a few years ago meeting Governor Schaefer. He was just a really nice and down to earth man and I have a lot of respect for him

  63. Maureen Johnson says:

    We have lost a great man who did a lot for our city & state! He will be missed.

  64. amy scott branch says:

    I remember in the (60’s and 70’s) when (African American’s could go, certain places in east baltimore i remember this cute little man, very friend would come around and make sure we had things to do, he would bring the fun wagon in our circle, make sure we had (18 months jobs, to keep money in our pocket during the summer, he would take picture with us, he would get out the car and clean the block with, and one special thing i will all ways remember, he allowed us to walk in clifton park thur mothers garden, he dedicated it to his mother he said youall are welcome, just keep it clean, i have so many things i could say about mayor–governor schaefer, my heart is heavy words cannot explain how i fill that’s why Mr. Schaefer, you will always be Baltimore Baby) may God bless you and keep you always, may he grant you the peace, you desire THIS IS AMY SCOTT FROM EAST BALTIMORE GIVING YOU ALL THE LOVE WE HAVE, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE….. LOVE YOU (TO BALTIMORE BABY ) FROM US!!!!!

  65. John says:

    Don Schaeffer, remembered today and forgotten tomorrow by the people of Baltimore.

  66. amy scott branch says:


  67. Made In Maryland says:

    I loved it when you were in office (as mayor, governor and comptroller). You made them all look like the game of politics was run in slow motion. Yuo told it like it was — that is what made you great (“speak up – I can’t understand you!” taken from your McDonald’s quote). Great!!! I loved it. I will miss you Don; I know youre up there taking care of the good lord’s political views. Goodbye Don….

  68. OMalleyClown says:

    He was taxed to death, i am not far behind!

  69. Mark says:

    I will never forget that image of him in the seal pool with the rubber duck! 🙂

  70. Arlene says:

    Politicians in today’s world don’t care about the people, only their parties’ agendas. Mr. Schaefer may have not been perfect, but back in his day, he did many things for the revitalization of Baltimore and its neighborhoods. It’s those that followed after him that left Baltimore City to rot. He was the greatest mayor that Baltimore City ever had and he did care for the people and that’s why he was a 4 term mayor, he was loved by the people. Thanks to Wm. Donald Schafer for making Baltimore City a great city once upon a time. Rest in peace.

  71. mamacat says:

    I started working for state government in 1980 – I’m still there. Governor Schaefer was tough during the good times and the bad – but he did it with class and, most importantly, HONESTY. You always knew what you were getting from him (as opposed to politicians after him). He never tried to hide anything – there were no surprises. He wasn’t the most popular politician at all times, but he was never afraid to ride in the elevator with “us common folk”. He always said ‘hello’ when passing by. He wasn’t always “politically correct” or “polished” — he was REAL. We need to go back to accepting his ‘brand’, embrasing his ideals, and working to correct what’s wrong in government – – and DO IT NOW!! P.S.: Thank you Ms. LeBow-Sachs for doing what we all should when a beloved family member needs us and caring to the end – – Just like William Donald Schaefer did!!

  72. Dr.J says:

    I have known Mr. Schaffer since I was 5 years old. i am now 70. what distinguished him from others was that he had the courage to care. Unfortunately, too few people today, in government service or otherwise, have that courage. to many of us calculate our actions and feelings based on what best serve our own interests. Like him or not, Mr. Schaffer gave a damn about his fellow citizens and di what he could to help. it will be a long time before his like is seen again.

    1. mamacat says:

      Unfortunately, DrJ., I don’t think we will EVER see the likes of him again! Somehow, narcissism and egotism are the standards by which they rule today – – self-deprecation, realization of acceptance of responsibility rule the day!

  73. Just "Jo" says:

    I was shocked when I saw the news about William Donald Schaefer here in Pennsylvania. I grew up in Maryland and spent most of my life there and my heart is still there, along with some of my family.
    He did so much for Baltimore and the State of Maryland. I remember when he did not want or let the Antietam Battlefield be commercialized like Gettysburg. Was upsetting when the Colts moved out in the middle of the night on my birthday – that hurt so much.
    I remember when he went into the water because the aquarium did not open when it should have. I liked the fact that he wore that striped swimsuit and carrying the rubber duck. Such a promoter in everything he did to help the city. Also remember the selling of pot hole covers to be repaired.
    My sister-in-law was his secretary when he was a lawyer and only had nice things to say about him.
    Maryland is very lucky to have him live, give, and care so much about the state.
    So much to say, but I will end by saying – “He Cared”. Something he said on an interview with Denise Koch. He did care more than any Governor of Maryland has had. He did so much to improve the city and get jobs.

  74. Carl Taylor says:

    I remember when Du Burns ran for mayor, and went to Schaefer for advice. Schaefer offered only this campaign slogan: “There’s nobody who do the voodoo like Du do”.

    I’m not sure why Du never used it.

  75. Charles Focht says:

    When I was the equipment manager for our little league, we had to present the Mayor with a hat before he threw out the first ball on opening day. As I was presenting him the hat he said to me that it better be adjustable because you know I have a big head. HE laughed at his own comment. As a young man I was also the newspaper boy for the Mayor and his Mother, Both were great people.



  77. Brian says:

    As a kid I remember going to the Inner Harbor and see Mayor Schaefer riding around in his golf cart talking to citizens, he made himself known to everyone. Baltimore was great when he was Mayor and now it’s been a dump for years. The State of Maryland was in good shape when he was Govenor and now it’s falling apart. Thanks O”Malley. Maybe O’Malley should learn from Don’s legacy and be more like him.

  78. Cindy says:

    He inspired me to do community work, I won Baltimore’s Best 1986. He remembered me when he gave me my award. He CARED about PEOPLE and Community. He will be remembered and missed. He was an HONEST POLITICIAN, with an agenda to take care of people and respect the voters.
    Our CURRENT POLITICIANS could learn a thing or two from that Good HONORABLE CARING MAN!

  79. Melissa says:

    I thought Mr Schaefer did a lot for Baltimore City. I graduated from Western High School on Falls Road and remember the day I graduated in 1985 Mayor (at the time) Schaefer handed each of us girls our diploma.

  80. BFaltz Jackson says:

    The honorable Mayor and Governor William Donald Schaefer was a man ahead of his time and to his “Do IT Now” attitude we Baltimore citizens should be very thankful. I especially remember the push as having a residential math, science, techology high school which many Baltimore citizens opposed. He and we on the committee did not stop but provided a learning center for educators to have a staff development school which we served as ambassadores to enable all students to learn math, science, and technology. Now there is the Seed school with some of that idea. We finally realize that the math and science is greatly needed to compete with the rest of the world. It was in the 80’s that Donald Schaefer tried to push the state of Maryland to the front of this now “Race To The Top” idea in education.. I also thank him for my service as a consumer member to the Board of Pharmacy where we made changes ito ensure health services were expanded such as innoculations and “brown bagging” of medicine so the consumer could understand what medicines might interact.

  81. Bangela says:

    What an example of how we should live…caring! I am going to miss Mayor Schaefer. He was a good man of integrity who cared not only for people but for the city of Baltimore its surrounding counties, and state of Maryland.

  82. Joe Fabiszak essex says:

    Please let the old queen be dead—I mean will they ever do an expose him with his beard Hilda Mae…he was a bitter closet case..enuff said

  83. Jane says:

    He was my “birthday buddy” as we shared the date. Lainy, thanks for being such a good friend to him.

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