For almost 40 years I knew and, in the course of civic and business work, had lively discussions with William Donald Schaefer.

He was a friend whose humanity and humor will be an enduring gift to Baltimore and Maryland citizens. Memories will continue for years to come. A special one is the documentary film, "Citizen Schaefer," produced by Maryland Public Television where have I the privilege of serving as chair of the MPT Foundation's board of directors. This film captures the driving force of "Willie Don" in many ways: from checking and correcting street potholes to the visionary approach to a new Inner Harbor and, most important, courage to do battle for what counts.

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I particularly remember a last conversation with him at the unveiling of the wonderful Schaefer statue near the harbor. After the ceremony and watching the very human sculptured image, I felt a tap on my shoulder and his voice asking: "George, who do you like better — the statue, or me?" To what I thought was a diplomatic answer — "Don, the statue is distinguished and looks like you " — my favorite dynamic Maryland leader replied: "You're wrong! Talking with me is much more fun!"

Thank you, Governor, Comptroller and forever Mayor William Donald Schaefer !

George Wills

The writer is chairman of the board of directors of the Maryland Public Television Foundation

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