by Roger Stephens
My mother, Margaret Alice McCurdy Peggy Stephens, went to her beloved Baba July 11, 2013. She dearly missed by her husband, Bill, her four children, Don, Julia, Melani, and I, as well as countless friends, family members and Baba Lovers the world over whose lives she touched. [Note: Bill subsequently passed away in November. See his page.]
Peggy was born on July 9,1925, which because of the time zone difference coincides with the very day Meher Baba began His silence in India. She and Bill, who were high school sweethearts, were married in 1945 and raised their family in South Florida. Bill and Peggy first heard Baba’s name on the David Susskind show in 1967, where Allan Y. Cohen was a guest speaker. They did not, however, become drawn to Him until their friend Ric O’Barry (then Ric O’Feldman) mentioned that he had just returned from the Great Darshan in India in 1969. Ric gave a copy of God Speaks to Bill with the dedication “To the Universe—the Illusion that Sustains Reality” and he somehow knew beyond a doubt that Meher Baba was God. I remember Dad being overwhelmed by his reading and exclaiming to us “only God could have written this book!”
But it wasn’t until he and Mom visited the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach later that year, and met Kitty Davy, Elizabeth Patterson, and others, that Peggy became convinced of Baba’s Divinity. They took us kids to the Center in the early Summer of 1970 and we realized that Baba was not another fad or cult Dad had embraced.
Peggy was the sweet and practical rock in our family. She loved Jesus as a result of her Christian upbringing, but never pushed us kids into attending church. She was so level-headed and sensible that when she was swept into Baba’s orbit we knew that something very special was happening.
Shortly after this initial honeymoon with Baba, we began to attend regular Baba meetings in Miami. These were well attended by members of a large group of longtime Baba Lovers and scores of young seekers drawn to His flame. As fate would have it, Ann Forbes, who had met Baba, asked Bill and Peggy if they would conduct the group meetings, as she had her husband’s health issues to deal with. We were delighted to accept and consequently Baba opened the floodgates and scores of souls began to attend meetings at our home and other locations in Miami.
The early ’70s were a remarkable time for Baba’s work in Miami. We regularly had a couple of dozen attendees, which would swell to over a hundred at special occasions. I traveled overland to Meherabad in the Fall of 1973 and Peggy and Bill showed up at the Samadhi on Christmas Eve, much to my surprise and delight. This was their first trip to India, but they made a regular pilgrimage to Meherabad over the years, sometimes bringing many family members with them!
There are many sweet and poignant stories of Peggy’s life I could relate here but at this writing I feel compelled to tell this one. In 1963, my father received an assignment from Reader’s Digest to write an article to be titled “the Romance of Pearls.” Dad had problems making the article flow the way the publishers wanted. Peggy stepped in and co-authored the article making it a joint effort. Decades later, in December of 1994 (my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and the 100th anniversary of Baba’s birth), while they were in India, Baba’s sister Mani gave Peggy the Indian edition of Reader’s Digest, containing their article. Mani told Peg that Mehera had liked the article so much that she had shown it to her Beloved Baba, and Mani had read part of it aloud to Him. They had kept the magazine all those years! Bill and Peggy felt that Baba had perhaps given them a compassionate inward push-or pull-that had later brought them into His arms.
Peggy died in Nashville, Tennessee, where Bill and Peggy lived in the ’80s, and where her youngest daughter, Melani, has lived for many years with her family. Bill is there and receives love and care from his family today. Peggy was a mother and mentor/guide to many souls over the years. Her remarkable compassion and gentle wisdom is remembered and cherished by all she touched.