Stephen Chester McNerney

Published 1:29 am Sunday, February 25, 2018


NATCHEZ — Funeral services for Stephen Chester McNerney, 70, of Natchez, who died
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at his residence, will be 11 a.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Natchez, with the Rev. Joan W. Gandy officiating.

Burial will follow at Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

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Visitation will be 10 a.m. until the time of service Monday in Stratton Chapel at the church.

Steve was born Feb. 27, 1947, in Indianapolis the son of Chester McNerney and Charlotte Tweitmayer McNerney. Because his father served several colleges and universities, including as President of Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pa., Steve lived in several states as he was growing up, including Ohio and Pennsylvania. He graduated from Akron Buchtel High School. A talented swimmer, Steve received a swimming scholarship to attend Florida State University. He earned bachelor and master degrees and spent a few years teaching in Florida public schools.

Steve moved to Houston, Texas, and for a number of years worked for Anheuser Busch. After that, Steve began his work at Teas Nursery in the Houston area, where his lifelong love of plants and flowers developed more fully. He held the status of Master Gardener. At Teas he developed an orchid supplies catalogue and began studying to become an accredited American Orchid Society Judge. He accomplished that endeavor and began to judge orchid shows throughout the United States, Central America and South America. In addition, Steve won numerous awards for his orchid displays.

In 1995, Steve and his wife, Mary Jo Warren McNerney, purchased Stewart Orchids of Carpinteria, Calif. They moved to California to operate the orchid business. In 2000, they moved their residency and the business to Natchez.

Owning and operating Stewart Orchids was a highlight of Steve’s career. From it, he made many orchid-loving friends in the Natchez area and around the world. He helped many friends care for their plants and greenhouses.

In Natchez, Steve was instrumental in establishing a group named The Green Alliance, organized under the umbrella of The Community Alliance as a nonprofit to promote recycling in the City of Natchez. He worked several years to accomplish his goal of bringing to public awareness the importance of recycling and protecting the environment.

Steve was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Natchez, where he participated in many church activities. He served on the First Presbyterian Playschool Board. And as an elder in the church, he was also as chairman of the property committee and helped to care for the grounds and buildings at the church. He enjoyed participating in the First Presbyterian Men’s Prayer Breakfast each Tuesday at the church.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Jo Warren McNerney; a sister, Shirley McNerney Rendell of Boston; and members of his wife’s family to whom he was devoted, including her brothers, Chandler Warren of Los Angeles; Alan Warren and his wife, Nan, of Benton, La.; John G. Warren and his wife, Kay of Helena, Mont.; and Mary Jo’s sister, the Rev. Joan W. Gandy of Natchez; and his wife’s many nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers are Terry Kelly of Sugar Land, Texas; and Ken Andermann, Rick Edwards, Bob Savino, Lee Scott and Hubert Smith, all of Natchez.

The family requests that memorial donations be made to First Presbyterian Church, 400 State St., Natchez, Miss., 39120.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at