Maria von Trapp, the last living member of the famous traveling musical family, died on Tuesday in Stowe, Vermont from natural causes. She was 99 years old.
"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 said in a statement to the press about his older half sister.
Maria was the third oldest of the seven children born to Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe Whitehead. Soon after Agathe Whitehead died from scarlet fever in 1922, Georg von Trapp hired Maria Kutschera to help care for his seven children. They later had three children of their own. Julie Andrews plays the part of Kutschera in the 1965 film 'The Sound of Music.'
Just like her mother, Maria contracted scarlet fever but survived. “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,” Maria von Trapp wrote on her family lodge’s website. “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.”
It was Kutschera who taught the children classical music and encouraged them to sing in public as the Trapp Family Singers.
In her last days, Maria served a missionary in Papua, New Guinea.
[via Daily News]