Harry R. Hughes, governor of Maryland, 1979-1987
"Our interactions were not always friendly; that is putting it mildly. … I still call him the mayor. I think most people do. … He really loved Baltimore. I don't think he ever got over that. That was his first love."
Parris N. Glendening, governor of Maryland, 1995-2003
Glendening recalled having lunch with Schaefer in Baltimore in early 1994 when Glendening was planning a gubernatorial run: "Schaefer said, 'You know, I'm going to miss this. I'm going to miss this a lot'. … He said, 'You have your family. This is all I have.' And he got teary-eyed. … We had our run-ins. He loved the position he was in so much that it was hard for him to let go. … Bottom line on everything, he had a long good run; when people look back, they will say the state will be better off because William Donald Schaefer was governor and mayor."
Marvin Mandel, governor of Maryland, 1969-1979
"I think when he lost the election [in 2006], I think that had a dramatic effect on him. … You could tell how it hurt him. It's a shame. The city and Maryland have lost a great man.
Comptroller Peter Franchot
"He could say things that other politicians would be drawn-and-quartered for. He had such Babe Ruth status, he was able to flourish and thrive, really, in that reputation of being outspoken. … This was a man who really spoke plainly and honestly, and not the rhetoric of modern blow-dried politicians — and like all of us, sometimes it may have been better not to say that. But people loved him for that powerful personality."
Former Baltimore Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III
"Forget about politics. He was a decent human being and a loyalist. He gave his entire adult life to public service and was Maryland's outstanding public servant in terms of political diversity. He was a legislator on the City Council, an executive as mayor and governor and an administrator as comptroller.
"… I met Donald Schaefer in 1938 through my father, and he was with his father. I put him on my ticket as City Council president."
Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke
"He came into office right after we had the riots after Dr. King's death. He came in during the early '70s when a lot of people were viewing cities as just massive shelters for the poor. Schaefer really focused on the best in cities, not the worst, and became a real advocate for cities. Schaefer viewed cities as good places to invest, good places to develop businesses and families. That was, to me, one of the real significant aspects of his career. He was kind of a leading advocate for urban America at a very difficult time for cities."
Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon
"When he saw something that was not right — trash in the street or potholes — he would call his agency heads." Dixon said she met with Schaefer shortly before she became mayor, and he told her to demand excellence from city workers. "His advice to me was 'Don't just accept what the agency people say, make them do the best they can.' When he wanted to get something done, he was determined to get it done."
William "Billy" Murphy Jr., Schaefer's mayoral opponent in 1983 Democratic primary
"He was an old-school guy and really didn't have a modern view of the inclusion of blacks in his administration. … We didn't know each other very well until the election, and we ended up profoundly disliking each other because of the nature of the campaign. … Schaefer hated criticism and I was full of it during the campaign. … I thought I took it too far, in retrospect. [After he left the governorship], I took the opportunity to apologize to him. That started us on the right track."
The Rev. Michael Roach, former pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Southwest Baltimore
"Donald Schaefer would just show up at our Christmas bazaar. In the desperate days of the neighborhood, he arrived, without guards. Everybody was so honored. You identified with him. He was one of ours."
Mathias J. DeVito, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Rouse Co.
"At times he could be difficult and he would stop speaking to me. These were all his ploys to get something done he wanted. He was complex and not the easiest to do something with, but he goaded me to do my best. He would motivate me through his negative fresh air.
"In my career at Rouse, I met with mayors and governors across the country. Schaefer was one of a kind. He was tops in terms of his ability to imagine. He had a great design sense. He could be strange and unusual, but he had a savvy political sense. People trusted him because he had a legitimacy of purpose."
"One day he showed up at my house in Roland Park. He was checking on a drain."
Richard Berndt, attorney and adviser