Remembrance by Julian Lines
Anie was from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and kept some of her Southern accent and charm until the end. She came to Pondicherry in 1968 with her husband, Narad (Richard Eggenberger), and had Mother’s Darshan. She spent four years in India and subsequently led a life of service to the Ashram and Auroville back in the U.S. She maintained a correspondence with Mother and 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 City. Both were professional singers in the choir of Saint Bartholomew’s among many other jobs. Anie was an understudy and nun in the first Broadway production of the “Sound of Music” and was also in the national touring company. She had numerous good friends in show business including the Smothers Brothers. Richard Rogers called her the “Fiat (sportscar) with the Big Horn”, because even with her diminutive size, she could project her strong soprano voice.
Anie was close to Jyotipriya (Dr. Judith Tyberg) founder of the East West Cultural Center (EWCC) in Los Angeles, as well as Sam Spanier and Eric Hughes, who founded Matagiri Sri Aurobindo Center in Mount Tremper, NY. 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 City, Woodstock (where she also sang in the choir) and Los Angeles and had very warm relationships with her many students. She moved back to LA and had a close relationship with Stuart Schoen and then after his passing returned to her native Hattiesburg. She was invited to return to LA to become the resident director of the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles (former EWCC). She developed a deep friendship with Michael Spector, whose healing work was helpful to her in her later years and they decided to move to Pondicherry, living on Candapa Muldiar Street.
In 1999 Anie had returned to the Ashram to interview disciples who had been close to Mother. After receiving a positive response to the publication of these interviews in the U.S, she returned to create a collection of twelve published as “The Golden Path” (please read Mangesh Nadkarni’s review online). Since her return to Pondicherry she started work on a follow-up volume when her kidney failure produced a series of strokes. She recovered from the first two setbacks and most recently visited Auroville in mid-February for a concert of flute and poetry by Gordon and Jeanne Korstange.
A few days later she had a more severe stroke limiting her speech and movement on her left side. Anie still rallied enough to speak with visitors. Vikas, a good friend 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.
Michael reflected, “It was a great adventure for us starting at the Sri Aurobindo center in LA and moving after three years to Pondy Anie new it was time and planned happily to return to India into the Mother’s arms. She was all grace, charm, beauty along with childlike stubbornness a solid sense of responsibility and a touchingly profound devotion to all that is good and uplifting. We were brought closely together by the wondrous spirit of music and art…so much of it! We sang and danced and meditated and shared these last years living together with joyous laughter and ever deepening communion with Sri Aurobindo and Mother.”
Anne Nunnally (Anie) passed at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Nursing home at 11:30 pm April 25th, 2017 at the age of 80. A retrospective album of photos is online here.