The two William Donalds

In this undated file photo, Archbishop William Donald Borders meets with Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer at the Inner Harbor. (CR/File)

Is is mere coincidence that William Donald Schaefer – the legendary Baltimore City councilman, mayor, Maryland governor and comptroller – died almost exactly one year after Archbishop William Donald Borders?

The two namesakes were good friends and consulted with one another on important matters related to making the city and state a better place.
In personality, they couldn’t be more different. The mayor was a grand showman who famously wore funny hats and took a dip in the seal pool at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  Impatient and impulsive, Baltimore’s greatest champion lived by the slogan: “Do it now!”
Archbishop Borders, on the other hand, was a mild-mannered priest who always seemed to wear a warm smile. His leadership style was all about listening and cultivating a sense of collegiality. He was just as strong as Schaefer, but prefered to avoid calling attention to himself.
In 2008, I asked Archbishop Borders about his relationship with the fiery Baltimore mayor.
“When I was appointed to Baltimore, the second person I heard from after Cardinal (Lawrence) Shehan was Schaefer – in a telegram,” Archbishop Borders told me. “It said: ‘Welcome to Baltimore. We William Donalds will have to stick together.’”
Today is the first anniversary of Archbishop Borders’ death.  You can learn about Archbishop Borders’ legacy by reading The Catholic Review’s coverage of his passing.
For more on what Schaefer meant to the Catholic community – both positively and negatively – read this story that just went up on The Catholic Review website. 
May the two great William Donalds rest in peace.

About George P. Matysek Jr.

George P. Matysek Jr. is the assistant managing editor of The Catholic Review in Baltimore. View all posts by George P. Matysek Jr.

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