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Former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer Dead At 89

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Baltimore dedicated this statue of Schaefer at Inner Harbor in 2009.
Baltimore dedicated this statue of Schaefer at Inner Harbor in 2009.

Schaefer was one of the dominant characters, if not the most dominant character, in Maryland politics. He served as governor from 1987 to 1995, but it was his four terms as mayor of the state's largest city that he will be most remembered for.

He championed the development of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the National Aquarium, and Camden Yards -- the stadium that houses the Baltimore Orioles.

But it was during his time as mayor that the city's other major sports team, the Colts, left in the middle of the night for Indianapolis. Schaefer held intense contempt for then-Colts owner Robert Irsay, calling him a double-crosser and liar because at the time, Schaefer thought he was near a deal with Irsay to keep the team in the city.

Schaefer's antics, wit, humor, and angry outbursts at the man who replaced him as governor, Parris Glendening, won him many admirers and votes, but eventually it caught up to him.

While running for a third term for state comptroller in 2006, his controversial comments about immigrants and the physical appearance of a female opponent led to his defeat -- and the end of his more than 50-year-long political career.

Flags are flying at half-staff in Maryland and more details are now available about memorials. A funeral service is scheduled for April 27 at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore. It seats about 850 people and a site next door will accommodate overflow crowds. Schaefer will be buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.

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