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Schaefer making one final tour through Baltimore

Casket driven by motorcade past old haunts, spots significant to his life

April 25, 2011|By Baltimore Sun Staff

Valerie James took a late lunch from her job at the Maryland Department of Human Resources to remember the former Baltimore mayor. James never met Schaefer but she said she appreciated his love and work for Baltimore.

"He was a big promoter of Lexington Market and the Inner Harbor," said James, 53, of Baltimore. "I wasn't going to miss this."

Bill Devine and wife Nancy Faidley, owners of Faidley's, presented a basket of African violets — one of Schaefer's favorite flowers — to longtime Schaefer aide Lainy LeBow-Sachs and other members of Schaefer's procession. Lexington Market representatives Darlene Hudson and Lena Sheubrook handed out a second basket of flowers. Hugs followed as Schaefer's friends and former aides thanked the crowd.

All the while, the bell kept ringing as onlookers clapped and took video and photos with their cellphones.

Tina Boone remembered escorting Schaefer and his longtime companion, Hilda Mae Snoops, to their seats at several performances at the Mechanic Center. That was nearly 15 years ago, when Boone was an usher there.

"He sat in G102, G103," recalled Boone, who is now a house manager at the Hippodrome.

"He was friendly. He always had something funny to say to you," she added.

As Schaefer's motorcade left Lexington Market, Bronwyn Mayden recalled working for Schaefer from 1978 to 1984, when he was Baltimore mayor. It was Mayden's first job after graduate school and as she described it, it was a "baptism by fire" working with Schaefer. But she worked hard and learned a lot, eventually being promoted as his deputy director of human development.

Mayden credits her time with Schaefer for solidifying her career path in working with communities and empowering them. Mayden is now assistant dean of continuing professional education at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She attributes the skills she gained, such as a strong work ethic and an ability to take calculated risks, to her time with Schaefer.

"His heart was in the city, and I wanted to say goodbye," she said.

--Hanah Cho

Federal Hill

About 100 people gathered in Federal Hill to see Schaefer's procession.

At each stop along the way, the motorcade was expected to be presented with a gift, but Michael Baker — outreach director for U.S. Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger and a former city employee in the Schaefer administration — noticed that no group was on hand to present one. So, he approached Mikai Pollard and asked the 6-year-old if he would present his kite to the entourage.

"Schaefer loved kids, he loved the park, he loved recreation," Baker said.

Mikai said he was happy to give up his kite. "Mayor Schaefer is a nice person," he said. Plus, Baker promised to buy the boy ice cream later — a fair trade.

George W. Della Jr., a former state senator and city councilman, was in the crowd.

"What a relationship we had," said Della. "It was wild. The guy had so much energy; it was endless."

--Eileen Ambrose

Health Care for the Homeless

About three dozen staff and clients of Health Care for the Homeless were waiting on the center's porch off the Fallsway for the procession.

Since 1987, Schaefer was a steady source of support and guidance, said CEO Jeff Singer. Schaefer was instrumental in helping the agency grow from seven employees and less-than-half-a-million-dollar budget to 150 employees and a budget of $13.5 million, Singer said.

"He was a complicated person and I can't say I would've supported 100 percent of what he did, but his heart for our work was true," Singer said.

--Frank D. Roylance

Baltimore School for the Arts

Few people who stopped for a brief rest on the Cathedral Street benches in front of Baltimore School for the Arts knew about the final tour of former mayor, governor and comptroller William Donald Schaefer.

Meg Powell came out of her Cathedral Street apartment to find out why the helicopters were circling overhead, and a motorcycle patrolman told her about the Schaefer tour, so she stayed to watch it pass the Baltimore School for the Arts.

She grew up in Arnold and remembers going to an event when State Circle in Annapolis was re-bricked. She still has a brick with signatures of the former governor and former comptroller Louis Goldstein, and was glad they gave the public a chance to pay their respects.

The 45-year-old remembered his reaction to workers at an Anne Arundel County McDonald's with poor English skills. "He had a strong sense of patriotism that came out in strange ways," she said.

--Liz F. Kay

Hippodrome

The former governor got the red-carpet treatment — and a standing ovation — when the motorcade pulled in front of the Hippodrome Theater on Eutaw Street in the midafternoon.

Flowers, a tiny replica of the marquee, postcards of the theater and a thank-you note were waiting on a section of red carpet outside the theater doors.

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