The last member of the famous Von Trapp family passed away on Tuesday at the age of 99. Maria von Trapp was the last surviving member and the third oldest child of the original seven children (Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina) that were born to Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead.
All of their lives were depicted in the 1965 instant classic The Sound of Music, in which Julie Andrews starred as Maria Kutschera, the nanny Georg hired to care for his children after Agathe died in 1922 from scarlet fever. Maria would later go on to marry Georg, and together they had three more children (Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes). The movie told the story of the singing family fleeing from Austria to escape the Nazis. They later toured the United States as a singing group.
Rebecca Cassel, Executive assistant of the Trapp Family Lodge (built in 1950), told the New York Daily News that Maria passed away from natural causes at her home in Vermont.
“Thank you for your thoughts. Maria had a wonderful life and while we will miss her the memories of her will live on,” Johannes von Trapp, the youngest son of Capt. Georg von Trapp and Maria Kutschera von Trapp and the president of the lodge, said in a statement. “She was a lovely woman who was one of the few truly good people,” he said. “There wasn’t a mean or miserable bone in her body. I think everyone who knew her would agree with that.”
Like Agathe, Maria also fought a battle with scarlet fever, but unlike her mother, she was able to survive. The mark that the illness left on her body would cause her to remain week and sickly throughout her life.
“As a result of scarlet fever, I was too sickly to walk the three miles to school every day, and the doctor advised that I stay home. This condition brought Maria Augusta Kutschera to teach me first grade gymnasium, the equivalent of middle school. She came to us as my teacher and after three years became our second mother. On November 26, 1927 they were married and would have three children, Rosmarie, Eleonore and Johannes.”
“An irony to the story is that Maria, the sickly child, outlived all her six siblings,” Cassel said. “She was a wonderful person with a very kind heart. We all loved her.”
[Image via Bing]