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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Werner von Trapp

10/18/2007 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 achievements.

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 .

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