City residents, former employees line up to pay respects to Schaefer

Those who knew William Donald Schaefer from all walks of life — as an employer, a leader or just another Baltimore resident — gathered on a warm, breezy Tuesday at City Hall to pay their final respects to the former mayor and councilman.

By 9:15 a.m., a long line of people snaked out the Fayette Street entrance of the building, where Schaefer's body lay in state a second day. Visitors walked one by one through a metal detector, greeted by a large picture of Schaefer as they made their way through.

Tricia Janitzky, 57, and Mary-Beth Patterson, 41, sisters who both worked for Schaefer in the 1980s, came together to say goodbye to the boss they remembered as maintaining his human touch despite reaching the heights of political power in Baltimore and Maryland.

Working out of his state office in Baltimore, Patterson recalled, Schaefer would admire the evening skyline and twinkling lights, which reminded him of Christmas, she said.

"In midst of all the busyness, he still had that personal connection," said Patterson, who worked for Schaefer as a teenager.

Janitzky, who worked for Schaefer as an administrative assistant for about 20 years, recalled how the then-governor would stop by her office in Annapolis and chat with her about his day. Though he called her "little girl" — his pet name for some of the women who worked for him throughout his political career — he made sure to know her name and acknowledge her hard work for his office, she said.

"If you didn't care, he made you care," said Janitzky, who is from the Canton neighborhood.

Inside City Hall, black-and-white photos of Schaefer at the opening of a city bridge, riding through town with Santa Claus and smiling with Orioles baseball players were displayed.

"I just loved him," said one woman as she pointed out to a friend the people she recognized in the photographs.

In another room stood flowers sent from city business associations and tributes from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Edward McDowell, 48, was born in Highlandtown and said Schaefer had been an "excellent" mayor. His mother and father, he said, knew Schaefer from being involved in politics.

"He was always about people," McDowell said.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a worker in the State Retirement Agency, came on a break to pay her respects. Her interaction with Schaefer was limited to shaking his hand at a ceremony marking her years of state employment, and she remembered him as a "nice guy, very funny."

Schaefer's casket will be available for viewing at City Hall until 9 p.m. Tuesday. His funeral service and burial are scheduled for Wednesday.



Recommended on Baltimore Sun