June Maher, founder of the Auroville Association/Auroville International USA, passed away on Friday April 25th in the Watsonville, CA hospital, the same day that her husband had left four years earlier. Her son Grant was with her. As Andrea van der Loo put it in an announcement, “June had been suffering the long term after effects of a heart condition in the form of severe oedema which kept her mostly chair bound with round the clock care. But the discomfort did not affect her. Being confined to her living room, her legs constantly wrapped in pressure bandages, being hauled from one doctor’s appointment to another, her spirit was unwavering. She would chuckle: “I’m just here in my sacred cave,” and laugh at her condition. She had surrendered to her children’s desire that she follow ‘doctor’s orders’, which she then did most conscientiously. June never wanted anyone to worry about her, because her spirit was with the Divine Mother and she had complete faith.
There is a presence and poise about Juanita Cole. Her domineer speaks of grace and gentility. The ethnic clothes she wears recall memories of many lands and many languages. Juanita’s calm, gently-modulated voice suggests that she has been in conversations with dignitaries from around the world. Indeed she has been. For 30 years Juanita held a position
in the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department. She was one of the first African American women to hold such a position.
In France she hosted dinner parties for the international set.In more than a dozen countries, Juanita entertained her guests with music, dancing and gourmet foods—many of them made with her own hands. This was Juanita’s life when she was in good health—before the debilitating effects of severe diabetes.
Now she spends her days at the Johnson Center. She likes to go out for lunch and be around people. She enjoys mind-stimulating activities and best of all, she can’t wait for the dancing and music to begin after lunch. But be advised, when you ask her to dance, you are in for the ride of your life. Her feet explode to the beat with energetic stomps. Her arms punctuate the air in rhythmic gyrations. For a moment she is queen of the dance floor, transported to a different country in another world.
Chandra (Jessica Paulding-James) peacefully left her body Wednesday 1st February evening in Ojai, California, only a few months after being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. She thought to return again to Auroville for a last visit with friends and family living here, though finally there wasn’t time. She would have been 80 in June.
First coming to Auroville in 1974 she and her then partner David Paulding stayed in Utility with Mali, helping to plant trees as part of Auroville’s reforestation work. She continued as a resident of India for 11 years then returned to live in California, while visiting Auroville a number of times over the years since – most recently in 2011 – along with her husband Ian James (Sucinno).
Many who knew her from early days and also those who met her later on will remember her as a strong and independent spirit, full of light and a keen sense of adventure. She helped many people along the path, and helped make a way for others to come after. She is held in memory by her daughter Isha and partner Christopher, her grandson Chris and his wife Laura, their sons Kai and Ari, her 2nd daughter Maya and her daughters Leia and Lily, as well as many friends here and around the world.
Anne Nunnally (Anie) passed away at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Nursing home at 11:30 pm of yesterday, Wednesday April 26th at the age of 80.
She came to Pondicherry with Narad and had Mother’s Darshan and led a life of service to the Ashram and Auroville. She even received Mother’s intervention for her recovery after a car accident in the U.S.
She and Narad had one of the first health food stores in New York. Both were professional singers. She had numerous good friends in show business including the Smothers Brothers. Richard Rogers called her the Fiat (sports car) with the Big Horn, because even with her diminutive size, she could project her strong soprano voice. She was an understudy and nun in the first Broadway production of the ‘Sound of Music’ and was also in the national touring company.
Anie was close to Jyotipriya (Dr. Judith Tyberg) as well as Sam Spanier and Eric Hughes, who founded Matagiri. She helped at the Sri Aurobindo International Center in Manhattan and lived with Scott (Lalit) Fullman in the apartment across the hall. Anie also served as the first Board Member of the Foundation for World Education after the passing of founder Eleanor Montgomery.
She taught music in New York, Woodstock and Los Angeles, where she became the director of the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles. She became close to Michael Spector, whose healing work was helpful to her in her later years and in February last year they moved to Pondicherry, living on Candapa Muldiar Street.
She had published a collection of interviews with Ashramites called “The Golden Path” (please read Mangesh Nadkarni’s review online) and was working on a follow-up volume when her kidney failure produced a series of strokes. She recovered from the first two and visited Auroville in mid-February for Gordon Korstange’s flute and poetry recital at Savitri Bhavan.
A few days later she had a more severe stroke limiting her speech and movement on her left side. She still rallied enough to speak with visitors. Vikas Bamba, from the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles, found her whole demeanor inspiring and felt a profound Grace was protecting her from what should have been a very painful process. Friends from the US and France contributed to a fund for her hospital stay and dialysis supplies and sent supporting messages faithfully conveyed by Michael. Dr. Dutta kindly brought her into the Ashram Nursing Home for her final weeks.
Steven came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at age five and studied at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education for five years. While living in the Ashram, Nolini-da gave
him the name “Stota”, meaning one who chants the mantra. Later he came to live in Auroville, which he had discovered as his heartfelt true home. Steven enjoyed studying languages and was fluent in several. He also studied pottery and was a fine creator of artistic ceramics. His greatest love was for trees and the afforestation work in Auroville. One day, looking over an Auroville grove, he said admiringly, “The trees all look different to you when you know their names.”
This site is a work in progress for honouring the participation of the blessed souls in the creation of the reality of Auroville. If you have any information on the people who have contributed in the Auroville process and hasn’t yet been displayed here, kindly contact us with the relevant information, pictures and videos. With thanks, Honouring Participation Team.