Joanna Custer

St. Simons restauranteur, caterer, and event planner, Joanna (Jody) Webb Custer passed away on Thursday, September 3, 2020 at her home on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Jody was born on May 4, 1938 in Columbia, South Carolina to Jo Smith Webb and The Honorable Judge Julian Webb, Presiding Judge Georgia Court of Appeals and President Pro Tem of the Georgia Senate (1967-1969). An identical twin to her surviving sister, Julianna (Judy) Webb Cheshire of St. Simons Island, Jody and Judy were affectionately known as The Webb Twins.

Jody Custer opened the original Fourth of May restaurant on Frederica Road in the mid 1980's, along with partners, sister Judy Cheshire and Florence Anderson. A new concept in fine dining and the first of its kind on St. Simons, The Fourth of May offered a prix fixe menu, consisting of five courses and three wines. Jody's artistic touch was seen in the table linens, fresh flowers and décor which changed monthly.

Inspired by French chef Paul Bocuse, whom she met while touring France to prepare for the launch of The Fourth of May, Jody insisted on attention to detail in the French school of culinary arts, wanting each guest to experience fine dining and gracious hospitality.

Upon retiring from the Fourth of May, Jody founded Chescu Creations with her sister Judy, a catering, wedding and events company. Jody created events throughout the Southeast and from Austin to Boston, ranging from intimate dinner parties to weddings for over a thousand. She shared a deep friendship with many, including florist Edward Armstrong, with whom she partnered to create signature bridal bouquets.

Jody grew up in Donalsonville, Georgia and attended Seminole County High School through her junior year. She graduated from Stuart Hall in Staunton, Virginia in 1956. Jody received her BA from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia in 1960.

Jody lived in Albany, Georgia, for many years. She was an active member of the Albany Junior League and co-owner of The Party Line, a catering company, where she developed her legendary culinary, floral and entertaining skills.

She is survived by her twin sister and best friend for 82 years, Judy (Ed) Webb Cheshire, daughter Julie (Stuart) Custer Altman and son Clay Custer; and the three true lights of her life, grandchildren Kelsey Custer of New Jersey, Sandi Altman of St. Augustine and Ronnie Altman of St. Simons.

A Celebration of Life service for Jody Webb Custer will be announced. Memorial donations can be made to Agnes Scott College and Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, St. Simons.

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