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Shepherd Roy Cutler
  • In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to:
  • Columbia Jewish Day School Building Fund
    5827 N. Trenholm Road
    Columbia, SC 29206

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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Shep Cutler by adding your memories and photos.

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“Shep was SB President when I was a freshman at Beverly High. He was the first true hero in my life. I still greet people in passing as he did. I...Read More »
1 of 23 | Posted by: Bob Kay - Classmate

“We are in the process of celebrating a 80th B'day party for our Beverly Hills High School class of 1956. Naturally Shep is always in our hearts and...Read More »
2 of 23 | Posted by: Joanie Yeonan - Beverly Hills, CA

“I am so sad to read of his death. I have not seen him since the 50's but he was someone you did not forget! He was kind, funny and a good friend in...Read More »
3 of 23 | Posted by: Dorothy Atwood Fitzsimons - CA

“Joni, Ken, and Geri, I was so sad to learn of Shep's passing. I worked with the family from 1968 until 1972 when my first chlld was born. This was...Read More »
4 of 23 | Posted by: Brenda Lee Pilkington - Lexington, SC

“Shep was an extraordinary person and a charming magician. I'm very fortunate to have met Shep and his wife Joni. My thoughts and prayers are with...Read More »
5 of 23 | Posted by: Matt Orlando - Oakland, CA

“Joni and Ken, We lived a block apart, attended El Rodeo 2nd-6th grade, played baseball in vacant lots, laughed a lot and then moved away. My...Read More »
6 of 23 | Posted by: Mac Coffey - Tiburon, CA

“In 1956 I was a freshman at Beverly High. Shep was my hero and model as I got involved in school life. It's amazing how long ago that was, but when...Read More »
7 of 23 | Posted by: Bob Kay - Pacific Palisades, CA

“Joni, My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. ”
8 of 23 | Posted by: Martha Edens - Columbia, SC

“Joni, we were so sorry to hear of your loss. You have been in our thoughts and prayers this past week. We were at MUSC today and learned of his...Read More »
9 of 23 | Posted by: Inman and Nancy Smith - Lexington, SC

“I am so very sad to hear about Shep's passing. I have only fond memories of him and Joni. He was kind, funny, well-dressed and young at heart. He...Read More »
10 of 23 | Posted by: Cousin Steve (Gross) Gordon - MA

“I WAS INTRODUCED TO SHEP AND KEN THROUGH MY BUSINESS MENTOR AND PERSONAL FRIEND THE LATE RON SEGAL.SHEP WAS NOT ONLY SHARP DRESSED AND BUSINESSMAN,...Read More »
11 of 23 | Posted by: DONALD JENNINGS - COLUMBIA, SC

“The world has suffered a loss as have we all. I can't express my sadness at Sheps passing. I wish I could be there and I will speak with you soon....Read More »
12 of 23 | Posted by: Joni Braunstein, Jerry and Erin Hesch - FL

“Dear Joni, The love you showed to one another was so special. The times we spent together and the Culter "Southern" hospitality was overwhelming,...Read More »
13 of 23 | Posted by: Joanie Yeoman & Louis Bernstein - CA

“Dear Joni, Steve and I were devastated to learn of Shep's death, a tremendous loss to your family, the Columbia Jewish community, and Columbia at...Read More »
14 of 23 | Posted by: Nancy and Steve Shane - Eagle, CO

“Dear Joni: I'm SO sorry! Mensch is the perfect word for Shep. He was such a doll, back in high school AND in our reunion days /events. ...Read More »
15 of 23 | Posted by: Joy Nuell - West Hollywood, CA

“Shep: In our Yiddish dictionary, we have placed a photo of you and Joni with the word mensch a real person of worth and dignity. In this photo,...Read More »
16 of 23 | Posted by: Miles Moriarty and Betty Watts - SC

“I, along with all of my classmates, were so saddened to hear this news. I send my deepest condolences. Thoughts are with the family all. ”
17 of 23 | Posted by: Susan ( Dant) lane - Los Angeles, CA

“Sweet Sheppy! I will miss you so very much. Your captivating personality and bright shining soul is one I will keep close at heart. Thanks for...Read More »
18 of 23 | Posted by: Sarah Livingston - Charlotte, NC

“I am saddened to hear of Mr.Shep he was a Great man that showed kindness to everyone he will deeply be miss! ”
19 of 23 | Posted by: Letitia lindsay - columbia, SC

“Joni I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your Love Shep. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. ”
20 of 23 | Posted by: Jeannie Skelly - Lexington, SC

“Joni, My deepest sympathies go out to you during this difficult time. With the loss of my Karen recently, it reminds us that God has a plan for all...Read More »
21 of 23 | Posted by: Douglas Marshall - Hopkins, NJ

“Joni, Marion and I mourn your loss of our precious Shep. What a beautiful man he was. His energy, his smile was contagious. Do you remember our...Read More »
22 of 23 | Posted by: Karen Fowler - Lake City, SC

“Like so many, my heart goes out to Shep's family for the loss of an amazing man. Working for Shep always brought surprises in many ways, shapes,...Read More »
23 of 23 | Posted by: Sally Zaleski - ORANGEBURG, SC


Shep Cutler of Columbia died on Tuesday after a long illness. He was surrounded - as always - by friends, family, and his beloved wife Joni Gibson Cutler. One of the most successful insurance brokers in the country, Cutler was also a noted philanthropist, entertainer, and bon vivant.

Shepherd Roy Cutler was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1939, to Lester and Edna Levine Cutler. As a small child, he moved to Beverly Hills, California, where his father was a movie producer. After graduating, as student body president, from Beverly Hills High School, Cutler set out to make his way in the world, founding what would eventually become Cutler and Associates in 1958. Cutler's business moved him to Columbia in the 1960s, but he did not find true success until he married the former Joni Gibson, of North Charleston, in 1972. Cutler's philanthropic career was long and varied. Cutler was honored as Man of the Year by the Columbia March of Dimes in 2006. A devoted Jew, he was also a longtime board member of the Columbia Jewish Community Center and the Columbia Jewish Federation, which honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2012. He received the Israel 66 award in 2014, the highest award of the Development Corporation for Israel. His leadership was instrumental in the founding of the Columbia Jewish Day School. Cutler was also an ardent, (very) amateur magician, who frequently entertained friends and complete strangers as The Great Sheppini. On special occasions, Joni would allow him to saw her in half. Known for his quick wit and his vast repertoire of jokes, some of them good, Cutler acted as Master of Ceremonies for numerous charitable dinners. He was an extravagant tipper, an ardent Gamecock, and one of the best-dressed men in the South. But his joyful demeanor never diminished his status as the steady rock that so many of his friends and family members relied upon for guidance, and it is in that role that he will be most sorely missed.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, his brother Ken and sister-in-law, Geri, also of Columbia, niece Jennifer (Todd) Fincher and their children, Owen, Ruby and Charleston, and niece Ava (Graham) Miller and their children Zachary and Harrison.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. at Beth Shalom Synagogue, 5827 Trenholm Road, Columbia SC. Interment, Arcadia Lakes Cemetery, 1401 East Arcadia Lakes, Columbia SC. Mourners are asked to dress in bright colors, in honor of Cutler's sartorial tastes.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Columbia Jewish Day School Building Fund, 5827 North Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC 29206.