Created on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:00
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:00
Werner von Trapp passed away at his home in Waitsfield, Vermont, on October 11, 2007. He was 91.
Werner von Trapp was born in Zell am See, Austria, in 1915, the fourth
child and second son of Captain Georg von Trapp and his first wife,
Agathe Whitehead. He studied cello at Salzburg's Mozarteum in the
1930s, and became proficient on several other instruments, as well as
in the art of composing and arranging. He sang tenor with his family's
choir, The Trapp Family Singers, who won great acclaim throughout
Europe after their debut in 1935.
In 1938, when von Trapp was 23, his family courageously escaped from
Nazi occupied Austria. As refugees, the family arrived in New York
where they quickly became popular with concert audiences. They
performed in the U.S. and 30 other countries until 1956.
In 1943 von Trapp entered the U.S. Army, serving in Europe with the ski
troops as part of the 10th Mountain Division. After the war, Werner von
Trapp returned to his family's farm in Stowe, Vermont, and resumed
touring with the family choir. On a hillside behind the family home,
von Trapp built a stone chapel in thanksgiving for his safe return from
wartime service. In 1948 he married Erika Klambauer, a childhood friend
of his sister, Martina.
When the Trapp Family Singers retired from the stage, Werner von Trapp
helped to found a music school in Reading, Pennsylvania, called the
Community School of Music. Several years later he brought his family
back to the Green Mountain State and eventually settled on a dairy farm
in Waitsfield. With the help of his wife and six children he farmed
until his retirement in 1979. He then devoted his time to his family,
to his love of traveling, and to his lifelong hobbies of weaving,
spinning and crocheting.
Despite his distinguished musical career, Werner von Trapp was a modest
man with a humble response to his fame and musical and personal
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Erika von Trapp, and by his six
children, Barbara Crandall, Martin von Trapp, Bernhard von Trapp,
Elisabeth von Trapp, Tobias von Trapp, Stefan von Trapp and their
spouses, and by 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is
survived also by his sisters, Agathe von Trapp, Maria von Trapp,
Rosemarie von Trapp and Eleanore Campbell, and by a brother, Johannes
von Trapp, and many nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated from Our Lady of the Snows
Catholic Church in Waitsfield on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, at 1 p.m.
with interment in the von Trapp family cemetery in Stowe. Friends
called at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Waitsfield on Monday
from 6 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts would be
appreciated to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, 600 Granger
Road, Barre, VT 05641. The Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation
Service in Waterbury is assisting the family. To send on-line
condolences, please visit www.perkinsparker.com