Last Surviving von Trapp Singer Dies at 99

Maria was second-oldest daughter of original 7 children in 'Sound of Music'

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 23, 2014 6:40 AM CST

(Newser) – The final surviving member of the singing von Trapp family that fled the Nazis in World War II and inspired The Sound of Music has died at the age of 99 in Stowe, Vt. Maria von Trapp was the third of seven children of Georg von Trapp and his first wife; she was the inspiration for Louisa in the famous musical and film. "She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people," said brother Johannes von Trapp, a son born later to Georg von Trapp and his second wife, also named Maria. "There wasn't a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that."

After escaping Austria, the von Trapps settled in Stowe, eventually opening a ski lodge, where Maria von Trapp played accordion and taught Austrian dance with a younger sister. She recalled, well, the sounds of music surrounding her early years in an online biography, notes the AP. "Father played the violin, accordion, and mandolin. Mother played piano and violin," she wrote. "I have fond memories of our grandmother playing the piano for us after meals." She also served as a missionary in Papua, New Guinea. The family was fairly long-lived: Maria's older sister, Agathe, died three years ago at age 97.

This Aug. 5, 1966, file photo shows the Trapp family in Stowe, Vermont. From left: Mrs. Hugh Campbell, Agatha, Maria, Rosemarie, Hedwig, mother Maria Augusta Trapp, Werner, and Johannes.   (AP Photo/File)
Maria von Trapp, brother Johannes and their sister-in-law Erika von Trapp pose in front of the Villa Trapp on July 25, 2008 in Salzburg, Austria.   (AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson)
In this Jan. 19, 1984 file photo, members of the von Trapp to celebrate the birthday of Maria Von Trapp, center.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
Maria von Trapp, her brother Johannes and their sister-in-law Erika von Trapp pose in front of the Villa Trapp on Friday, July 25, 2008 in Salzburg, Austria.   (AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson)
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