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Last of the singing clan in 'The Sound of Music,' Maria von Trapp dies at 99 years of age

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 24th, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The last of the singing children of the Von Trapp family has passed away at the age of 99. Maria Von Trapp immortalized in the musical classic "The Sound of Music," has died at her Vermont home of natural causes.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Maria von Trapp was the third-oldest child of Agathe Whitehead and Captain Georg von Trapp. The couple had seven children: Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina.

Maria Kutschera von Trapp, Georg's second wife, wrote a book entitled "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers." The book was the basis of two German films and "The Sound of Music."

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The Broadway musical "The Sound of Music" opened on in 1959, starring Julie Andrews in perhaps her signature role. Andrews also played the part of Georg's wife, Maria, in the 1965 film. Christopher Plummer played Baron von Trapp. The movie won five Academy Awards, including best picture.

"Thank you for your thoughts. Maria had a wonderful life and while we will miss her, the memories of her will live on," Johannes, the youngest son of Maria and Georg von Trapp, and Maria's half-brother wrote in a statement. 

Maria von Trapp later served as a lay missionary in Papua, New Guinea after her singing career. She never married.

An intensely musical family, Maria's parents were talented musicians. Agathe played the violin and the piano while her father played the violin, accordion and mandolin.

"Sometimes our house must have sounded like a musical conservatory. You could hear us practice piano, violin, guitar, cello, clarinet, accordion, and later, recorders. We would gather in the evenings to play Viennese folksongs on our instruments with Father leading on the violin," Maria wrote in her autobiography found on the Trapp Family Lodge's Web site.

After Maria's mother died of scarlet fever in 1922, Maria likewise suffered from the disease and needed to be tutored at home as a result. That teacher, Maria, would eventually marry Georg in 1927.

The couple would go on to have three more children: Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes. The Trapps fled Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938 and moved to the United States.

After traveling the world as the ambassadors of song, the Trapp family bought a 27-room family home in Stowe, Vermont in 1950.

Thirty years later, the building was destroyed in a fire, and then rebuilt into the Trapp Family Lodge. The property is still owned and operated by remaining members of the Trapp family.

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