In the movie that made her family famous, Maria von Trapp was renamed Louisa, a spunky 13-year-old tomboy known for hiding spiders in the beds of governesses she detested.
She was the third-eldest child of Captain Georg von Trapp, and the last surviving sibling of the seven depicted in the beloved 1965 film “The Sound of Music,” which ends with their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria. And with her death last week, at age 99 in Vermont, the beloved musical starring Julie Andrews lost a vital link to the history that inspired it.
“It’s so meaningful to me, because it is the closing of that era,” said Elisabeth von Trapp of Waitsfield, Vt., a niece of Maria von Trapp. “She outlived them all . . . And she was the center. She exemplified what my family believed in.” Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.