Steve ‘Toby’ McKenzie
May 03, 2013 | 4407 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Steve Allen “Toby” McKenzie, 59, a resident of Cleveland, passed away, Thursday, May 2, 2013, in a Chattanooga hospital.

He was a member of Mount Olive Church of God.

He was a well-known local entrepreneur; initiating the operation of National Cash Advance and many property developments.

He graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1971. He was a multiple letterman in both football and baseball. After high school, he took a job as a paper boy for both the Cleveland Daily Banner and the Chattanooga Times.

From this humble start, he went on to co-found and own two “rent-to-own” companies in the 1980s and 1990s, and National Cash Advance in the 1990s. At the time of its sale in 1999, the Cleveland-based National Cash Advance included 550 stores nationwide.

He was a well-known philanthropist in the Bradley County area. He made numerous donations to local concerns, including the United Way, Lee University and several local schools. He also established scholarships at both UT-Chattanooga and UT-Knoxville. One of his most notable donations was made to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where his contribution (along with his former wife Brenda Lawson) allowed retirement of the debt of the UTC “Roundhouse.” The arena now bears the name McKenzie Arena in the family’s honor.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Gail Bettis McKenzie; and brother, Mark Patrick McKenzie.

Survivors include his wife, Rebecca Howle McKenzie of Cleveland; three children: Shasta McKenzie and husband, Jody McGill, of Cleveland, Steve “Toby” McKenzie Jr. and wife, Elizabeth, of Ooltewah and Ashley McKenzie of Ooltewah; two stepdaughters: Mary Beth Baker and Meagan Frye, both of Cleveland; grandson, Steve Allen McKenzie III of Ooltewah; three stepgrandsons: Dawson Satterfield, Bo Baker and Joey Frye, all of Cleveland; sister-in-law, Debbie McKenzie of Cleveland; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Terry and Melanie Gaston; nephews: Mark McKenzie, Jason McKenzie, J.T. McKenzie; niece, Casey McKenzie; and nephews-in-law: Jared Gaston and Clark Gaston.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013, at Mount Olive Church of God with Pastor Gary Sears officiating.

Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens with Chris Eaton, Steve Logsdon, Rick Lawson, Jared Gaston, Clark Gaston and Charles Heron will be serving as pallbearers. Joseph Decosimo, Larry Kugler, Larry King and Brad Kilpatrick will serve as honorary pallbearers. A white dove release ceremony will conclude the service.

The family will receive friends from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Fike Funeral Home.

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the McKenzie family guest book at