Annapolis says goodbye to Schaefer on Monday
Former governor to be buried in Baltimore on Wednesday
ANNAPOLIS Juanita Cage Lewis the first member of the public in line showed up at 8:30 a.m. Monday to bid farewell to the late Gov. William Donald Schaefer, whose flag-draped casket lay in repose at the State House.
Cage Lewis, who works for the state department of Housing and Community Development, remembered Schaefer, who died at age 89 last week, for being a compassionate governor.
During a winter storm in 1994, Cage Lewis, who lives in Annapolis, needed to get home to Cumberland to care for her sick mother. With highways shut down, however, she could not travel westward.
"He took care of ordinary people like me in crisis," she said. "He didn't know who I was."
The governor, who heard of her plight through a member of his cabinet, arranged to have Cage Lewis, her sister and daughter taken to Allegany County by a state trooper, she said.
"I get a call from the governor, Little girl, we're going to get you home,'" Cage Lewis said.
"Little girl," a term of endearment Schafer often used for the women who populated his staff, was how Louise Hayman, who worked in communications and public relations for Schafer for 12 years, identified herself.
"It was very special. It was an honor, a privilege and you just felt like you were trusted to understand the reason he called you little girl,'" she said. "He wouldn't call you little girl' unless he knew you would take it the right way."
A few hundred mourners waited in line to file past Schaefer's casket, following a private memorial service for dignitaries that morning. Many of the people in line were state employees, but area residents also showed up.
Oscar Kidd, who lives in Annapolis, said he never worked in state government and didn't personally know Schaefer, who served as governor from 1987-1995 but probably made his biggest mark as longtime mayor of Baltimore city.
"I liked him because he wasn't pretentious," Kidd said. "He was what he was. He spoke his mind.
"You didn't have to agree with him, but he still moved forward and did great things for Baltimore city. And I would hope that other leaders in Baltimore city would take a lead from him because you can think of the building he did [there] when he was governor and mayor. Nothing can compare to it."
George W. Owings III, former state veterans affairs secretary, was in line Monday morning as well.
"This is the end of a one-of-a-kind relationship with the citizens of Maryland," he said.
Owings was particularly indebted to Schaefer for helping launch his political career in 1987, when the governor appointed him to serve out the term of former Del. Thomas A. Rymer, who was nominated for a Circuit Court judgeship.
Schaefer's blunt style rubbed some people the wrong way, and while his later years in public office were marred by controversial remarks that ultimately led to his defeat in 2006, Owings said the negative incidents don't define Schaefer.
"Regardless of what you think of him personally, you cannot take away what he did for the people he served," Owings said.
Schaefer's casket was met by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Monday morning outside the State House. All four living former governors Robert L. Ehrlich, Parris N. Glendening, Harry R. Hughes and Marvin Mandel were in attendance.
Ehrlich, who served as governor while Schaefer sat in the comptroller's seat, praised the former governor as well as Mandel.
"They obviously changed the face of state government," Ehrlich said. "Gov. Schaefer didn't look up to many people, but he looked up to Gov. Mandel."
Schaefer's body was scheduled to tour Baltimore on Monday afternoon before lying in repose at Baltimore City Hall on Monday evening and all day Tuesday.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore.
Staff writer Alan Brody contributed to this report.