Mary Jo (Jody) Reston, long-time regional newspaper publisher and business manager in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, died at age 86 on Feb. 12, 2024, in Sarasota, Florida.

Jody Reston retired from her leadership posts at the Vineyard Gazette in 1999 after 25 years of distinguished service. She then moved from the Martha’s Vineyard to Sarasota where she spent her remaining years in retirement.

She was born May 16, 1937, in Kenosha to Edwin B. and Evelyn M. O’Brien. Ms. Reston grew up in Delavan and graduated in 1959 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her career as a school teacher in Wisconsin before moving two years later to Washington, D.C., where she worked for several years first at the Republican National Committee and later in a business position at Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

In 1965, she married Richard (Dick) Reston, a journalist stationed in Washington, D.C., with The Los Angeles Times. His assignments moved both of them to postings abroad, four years in Moscow and three years in London after Russia. They returned to the nation’s capital in 1973.

In 1975, they moved to Martha’s Vineyard to run the Vineyard Gazette, a community weekly newspaper owned by the Reston family. James (Scotty) Reston and Sally Reston were the publishers at that time. Jody Reston took over the paper’s financial operations as business manager and Richard guided the editorial side as executive editor. The couple became co-publishers in 1988.

Beyond her many newspaper responsibilities, Jody Reston was deeply involved in community activities ranging from fundraising drives for public organizations to support for environmental efforts to protect the special character of the Vineyard and campaigns to improve the quality of health care on the Island. She served on the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital board of directors from 1979 to 1989.

Her friends and colleagues recalled her as a person who loved to talk about politics and current events. They remembered her laughter and contagious smile and described her as a kind, generous and fiercely independent person, someone with endless curiosity. She was devoted to family and her Catholic faith; she loved to travel, play bridge, dine out and was a lifelong supporter of the theatre and performing arts. In recent years, she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Jody Reston is survived by two brothers, Thomas O’Brien of Milwaukee, and Patrick O’Brien of Sarasota, Florida; a sister, Kathleen Maybee of Sarasota, Florida, and her former husband, Richard Reston.

She was predeceased by her parents, Edwin B. and Evelyn M. O’Brien, and a brother, Robert O’Brien.

The family is being assisted by Toale Brothers Funeral Home in Sarasota, Florida. A private burial is planned at St. Andrews Cemetery in Delavan. Memorial gifts may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at

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