Maria Franziska von Trapp Dead at 99
Maria Franziska von Trapp, the last of seven children made famous by The Sound of Music, has passed away at 99.
Maria von Trapp died of natural causes in her Stowe, Vermont home Saturday. She was the third-oldest child of Capt. Georg von Trapp and Agathe Whitehead. The couple had six other children: Rupert, Agathe, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina.
The children, their father and their step-mother, Maria Augusta von Trapp, became cultural icons of the 20th century after Maria Augusta published “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”. The memoir served as the basis of two German films about the family which in turn inspired the musical “The Sound of Music”. The musical’s 1956 musical film adaptation solidified the family’s place in popular culture.
As a child, Maria Franziska suffered from scarlet fever, the same disease that took her mother’s life in 1922. As she was recovering, Maria Augusta was brought from a local convent to tutor her. She began teaching the other children as well, and eventually married Capt. Von Trapp. The family began singing together in the mid-1930s. In 1938, they fled from Nazi-occupied Austria and eventually settled in the United States, where they opened an inn in 1942.
In a statement issued shortly after his sister’s death, Johannes, the youngest son of Maria and Georg von Trapp, said, “Maria had a wonderful life and we will miss her. The memories of her will live on.”