The Heartbreaking Death Of Sound Of Music Family's Rosmarie Trapp

Rosmarie Trapp died at age 93 on May 13. "Stowe lost one of its kindest, most gentle souls," Rosmarie's youngest brother Johannes von Trapp, his wife Lynne, and his children Kristina and Sam wrote in a heartfelt post confirming the news on Instagram. "Her kindness, generosity, and colorful spirit were legendary, and she had a positive impact on countless lives." No cause of death was mentioned.

Besides her renown as a caring, supportive part of her community, Rosmarie was also part of the celebrated Trapp Family Singers. She was the oldest daughter of Captain Georg Johannes von Trapp and his second wife Maria Augusta and part of the famous family who inspired the Broadway musical and film "The Sound of Music," per VermontBiz. Rosmarie had seven older half-siblings and two younger siblings.

Born February 8, 1929 in Aigen, Austria, Rosmarie and her family escaped Nazi-occupied Germany in 1938 and traveled to the United States. They eventually established a permanent home in Stowe, Vermont and opened the Trapp Family Lodge, an Austrian style resort. Rosmarie completed the path to U.S. citizenship in 1951.

In addition to her brother Johannes, Rosmarie is survived by numerous family members, per People. The grandchildren of Rosmarie's half brother, Werner, continue their family's musical legacy by performing in their own group (via Daily Mail).

Even though she was part of a famous family, Rosmarie Trapp preferred a life out of the spotlight.

Rosmarie Trapp loved music but not public performances

Although music played a significant role in her life, Rosmarie Trapp found happiness in many pursuits that didn't involve fame. "I was not happy on stage. I was made to do it," she said in a 2016 interview, per Daily Mail. "We never went running in a field and singing songs like that. We had a hard life. It was a struggle."

The von Trapp family's musical career started when the family won a 1935 contest at the Salzburg Festival. They relied on their musical talents as an important source of income after losing their savings during the Great Depression. After they arrived in the U.S., the von Trapps toured extensively. For two years, the family lived in a bus while they traveled and gave concerts (via Salzburg Panorama Tours).

While there is no specific character in "The Sound of Music" that is based on Rosmarie, she did participate in the Oscar-winning film. Along with her mother and cousin, Rosmarie went back to Austria to observe the production. Speaking at Bridgeton Christian School in 2011, she recalled, "We met Julie Andrews and the crew, and they allowed us to be in the movie." The trio appeared as extras during the song "I Have Confidence." "We had to walk across that road 10 times," she recalled. "That was the end of being in movies for me" (via

The Sound of Music brought new-found fame to the von Trapps

"The Sound of Music" brought new attention of Rosmarie Trapp and her family. Johannes von Trapp, now the last-surviving member of the original Trapp Family singers, told ITV in 2021, "We were well known among a small group who knew the kind of music we did, but 'The Sound of Music' just opened us up to the whole world," per the Daily Mail.

However, like many Hollywood renditions, the movie offered a departure from the family's real experiences. Agathe von Trapp, the oldest of the siblings, believed her father was incorrectly portrayed as almost alarming in the film. According to her longtime friend Mary Louis Kane, "[Agathe] cried when she first saw it because of the way they portrayed him."

Johannes also thought the film was a departure from the warm, loving father he remembered. "'The Sound of Music' portrayed him as a martinet, and he really was not that," he told The New York Times in 1998. "The whistle he used to summon the children was a convenience.”

Johannes also mentioned that his mother Marie von Trapp (depicted by Julie Andrews) was much more complex in real life than on film. While she could be stern and strict, Johannes recalled, "She loved to make people happy. She would read about someone in trouble and invite their widow and six children for Christmas." Maria's kindness and goodwill influenced her daughter Rosmarie.

Rosmarie Trapp valued altruism

As a way of carrying on her family's musical legacy, Rosmarie Trapp led regular singalongs at the Trapp Family Lodge, with a repertoire that included songs from "The Sound of Music," per The New York Times. She also passed on her joy of music by giving lessons in vocal music and playing the recorder.

Religious faith played an important role in Rosmarie's life. She accompanied Maria, her older half-sister, to Papua, New Guinea, where they did missionary work, per VermontBiz. When she returned to Vermont, Rosmarie touched lives by crafting hand-knit items for friends and family and writing regular letters to her local paper, Stowe Reporter.

In his Instagram post honoring his late sister's memory, Johannes von Trapp asked people "to demonstrate the same selfless kindness and generosity that she exemplified daily." Rosmarie enjoyed a simple life, and she was frequently spotted walking around her community of Stowe, Vermont. She was known for her small acts of kindness, such as offering people clothes or money when they needed extra assistance. According to her obituary, "Rosmarie had a keen insight and intuition as to who might benefit from her supportive ear, and she helped many people through difficult times."