Update, 12:45 p.m.
Lainy Lebow-Sachs, a longtime Schaefer aide and close friend, recalled Schaefer’s drive to get things done and the special relationship he had with his staff.
Offering the first of three reflections, Lebow-Sachs told fellow mourners about the day in 1980 during his tenure as mayor that Harborplace opened. The marketplace was part of Schaefer’s vision for revitalizing Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
When she found Schaefer in his office around 6 or 7 p.m. that day, he was in no mood to look back on the achievement, Lebow-Sachs said. Instead, he told her: “Little girl, that already happened. What else is going on?”
While Schaefer, who never married or had children, did not have a traditional family, his “nontraditional family” was immense, Lebow-Sachs said, referring to his staff. “We truly were his children.”
“If you had one shred of untapped potential, he would find it and pull it out of you,” she said.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) shared several stories of neighborhood battles in Baltimore, including one of which she and Schaefer were initially on opposite sides.
But Mikulski said Schaefer would “not want us to dwell on the past.”
“He would ask, ‘What are you going to do to help somebody today? … He knew each and every one of us could make a difference. He’d want us to make a change, and he’d want us to do it now.”
Kweisi Mfume recalled adversarial days with Schaefer, when Mfume was a Baltimore City Council member and Schaefer was mayor. Schaefer would call Mfume “Councilman Muffin.” Mfume would call him “Mayor So What?”
Later in their political careers, they became allies and Mfume said he “revered” Schaefer as “a foe without hate.”
“Don Schaefer was a person who changed politics,” Mfume said. “He put a human face on it. He made it real. … We honor him by holding onto his example of public service and excellence.”
Update, 10:45 a.m.:
The hearse with William Donald Schaefer’s casket was preparing to leave Baltimore City Hall and head in a procession including a riderless horse to Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, about eight blocks away.
Maryland’s past and present political leaders have been streaming into the church, including U.S. House Minority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and other members of the congressional delegation. Both Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., the state’s last Republican governor who developed a close relationship with Schaefer, have arrived.
Several of the politicians stopped for interviews with reporters on their way into the church.
Schaefer did not view relationships through a partisan lens, Ehrlich said as he arrived. Ehrlich said Schaefer wanted to know: “Are you doing the right thing for people?”
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said, “We in public service ought to take a page out of his book. Start first with caring about people and let everything else follow.”
Kweisi Mfume, who served on the Baltimore City Council when Schaefer was mayor, called Schaefer the “most formidable foe I ever faced.” There are now rumors that Mfume may soon run for mayor. Asked if he was running for office, Mfume told reporters, “I’m running for cover.”
Outside the church, the Maryland National Guard’s honor guard lined the street, carrying flags and waiting to escort Schaefer’s casket into the church.
Earlier, police in white gloves lined North Charles Street in the blocks approaching the historic church in downtown Baltimore. In store windows nearby, signs were posted thanking the former mayor and governor with the message: “You were truly Baltimore’s best.”
Schaefer’s admirers lined up as early as three hours before the service was scheduled to begin. Among the well-wishers were former aides, state employees, elected officials and former journalists who covered his long, colorful career.
In the crowd was Annapolis lobbyist Bruce Bereano, who said he first got to know Schaefer as a volunteer on his 1986 gubernatorial campaign and later at the State House.
“Whether you agreed with him or not, or got frustrated by him, what was consistent was that his heart was always in the right place,” he said.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), former congressman and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume and longtime friend Lainy Lebow-Sachs will offer reflections Wednesday on the storied life of William Donald Schaefer.
Funeral services for the former Maryland governor, comptroller and Baltimore mayor are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the historic Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Baltimore.
The closing lines of the program offer a preview of what mourners are likely to hear about Schaefer: “He cared. He cared about helping people. Now you do what you can to help people in tribute to perhaps Maryland’s greatest public servant. Do it now.”
Rev. Luther Starnes, who served as state human resources secretary under Schaefer, will provide the homily. Musical selections are being performed by the Maryland State Boychoir, the 229th Army Band of the Maryland National Guard and the Morgan State University Choir, among others.
A virtual who’s who of Maryland politics is expected to fill the pews.
Check back here for updates on the service Wednesday morning.