Edith Dickinson Tipple was born on March 14, 1934 at her ancestral home in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of Jacob McGavok Dickinson Jr., a prominent Arabian horse breeder of the time, and Margaret Adams Dickinson Seeger, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Her paternal grandfather, Jacob McGavok Dickinson, was a leading attorney in Chicago, Illinois and the Secretary of War under President Howard Taft. Her maternal grandfather, Rufus Biggs Smith, was a distinguished attorney and judge in Cincinnati, Ohio, in whose honor a plaque adorns the wall of the University of Cincinnati Law school.
Travelers Rest, the home in which Edith was born, is now a Historic House Museum. From there the family moved with their 60-horse stud farm to Rancho Oso at Paradise Camp, about 25 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. It was from there that Edith established her lifelong love of Santa Barbara and of Montecito, where she lived from 1948 to the present, except for six years spent in Cleveland, Ohio and Austin, Texas (1954–60) when she was married to Joel Loring Andrews. In 1961 she married John Ord Tipple, who died in 1983. She attended Laguna Blanca School, Stanford University, and The University of California at Santa Barbara, majoring in philosophy.
Edith began attending the Vedanta Society in Montecito, and was initiated by Swami Prabhavananda in the early 1960’s, receiving the Sanskrit name “Nalini” (meaning “Lotus”). She became an ardent devotee, eventually moving very near the temple, and offering regular service there. For many years she performed the all-night Shiva Ratri puja in her shrine at her own home. Along with Amala Kenny, she spent long hours transcribing Swami Prabhavananda’s taped Gita classes from the 1950’s and 60’s, and organized a lot of archival material.
Nalini had an ardent interest in spiritual psychology. In this pursuit she wrote innumerable articles and book reviews for various Vedanta periodicals and five children’s books of eastern tales for Western children. She edited two large compendiums of Ramakrishna reference, What the Disciples Said About It and the as yet unpublished The Word in Metaphor. She also organized Realizing God, a comprehensive study of Vedanta through forty-six years of lectures given by her guru Swami Prabhavananda, founder of the Vedanta Society of Southern California. She also edited A Challenge for Modern Minds, contemporary thoughts of Vivekaprana from Sarada Math, India, and she edited three documentary videos for the Vedanta Society.
Nalini is survived by two daughters, each of whom she adored and admired for wide-ranging accomplishments: Marina Andrews Parke (Jeff) and Jocelyn Tipple; two granddaughters, Megan Parke Baxter and Hayley Parke D’Auria, as well as by her sister, of Santa Barbara and her brother of Toronto, Canada; niece Whitney Heimlich Ingersoll of Santa Barbara and nephew Sven Dickinson of Toronto, Canada, and seven others scattered throughout the country.
At this time, no memorial services have been planned. In lieu of flowers, Nalini has asked any remembrances be sent to either the Vedanta Society of Southern California or to the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County.