Stephen George Nellissen

stephen nellissen

April 11, 1953 ~ March 5, 2021

Stephen George Nellissen lost his battle with lung cancer at his home in Fort Lee, NJ on March 5, 2021. He was 67.

Steve was born in New York City on April 11, 1953 to Clifford and Jane (Cowen) Nellissen.

He grew up in Manhattan, where he enjoyed playing in Central Park with his younger brother, Chris. At age 13 he started playing bridge, which soon became a passion and continuous theme throughout his life.

He graduated from Friends Seminary in New York City in 1971 and attended Connecticut College.

Steve’s professional life began in his family business, Nellissen-Reiss/Christeval. Later, he traded stock options on the American Stock Exchange. After long days on the trading floor, Steve was greeted at home each night with running hugs from his two young daughters.

In 2004, Steve decided to make his life’s passion into a profession. He founded The Bridge

Table with his wife Amy, where he fostered a love of bridge and a sense of community among hundreds of northern New Jersey residents.

Early in the pandemic, Steve transitioned to directing bridge games online, and then coached

his players, one at a time, through the process of re-connecting with each other for online

Bridge. He was known to greet each player individually to make people who were home alone feel that they were amongst friends and had a sense of purpose in a lonely time.

Steve also loved tennis. He played in many leagues, taught his daughters how to play, and had a fierce backhand.

Steve went out of his way to make people feel welcome in any situation. He was known for his dry humor and terrible puns, which resulted in chuckles and even a few eye-rolls. He was the King of his family’s heart.

Steve is survived by his wife, Amy, and two daughters Emily and April.

His life was a blessing. His memory a treasure. He is loved beyond words, and missed beyond measure.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 20 at 11 am on Zoom. Visit the Unitarian

Society of Ridgewood website that morning for the link.

In lieu of flowers or food, please consider a donation to:

• Orange Education Foundation’s Youth Bridge Program. Over the years, Steve donated

his time and the proceeds from The Bridge Table’s Cellphone Penalty can to this group.

The program funds after school bridge clubs for middle and high school students

throughout the school year. Students who fully participate during the year earn a trip to

the ACBL’s Summer Youth Bridge Championship. Make checks payable to Orange

Education Foundation, write “Bridge” in the memo line, and mail to: Barbara Clark, 101

Marion Dr, West Orange, NJ 07052, or

• The American Cancer Society

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Memories Timeline


  1. Steve Nellissen was a wonderful husband, father and friend. My two favorite memories of Steve are when he would carry his very young daughters to dance with them and his statement "Somebody needs to experience watching Amy enjoy travel so much; that person should be me.". His simple nickname for Amy was always "My love".

  2. Steve was so many things. A fiercely competitive bridge player when I first met him in the 1980's and yet he turned out to be as fierce a family man and willing to be more present with his wife and growing family as each year passed setting aside the most competitive parts of his bridge life in favor of his family life. And he was always happy to do it.

    Steve – proud of his family proud of his wife.

    I will always think of his quick smile and his little chuckle as one of his wry statements or jokes landed. I remember him at our many gatherings with his allocated beer in hand, enjoying it and enjoying the company. Taking part in the trivia quizzes on our Vermont trips after spending the day with the girls ice skating in Manchester. Batting balls on the tennis court a 3 hapless non-tennis players attempting to get his workout in. I will always remember him showing up on my last day of sitting shiva to walk around the block with me and help me re-enter the world. He was always there to answer a bridge question no matter how simple-minded. He was intrepid….traipsing up umpteen flights of stairs in Sienna to follow Amy at her double-times pace through Italy but able to sit over dinner and hear and tell the stories of the day.

    A wealth of moments to remember and so much to be missed.

  3. Steve was a foundation of local bridge, and his passing is a tremendous loss for Unit 106, District 3, and the entire ACBL. Much more than a world class bridge player, Steve fostered gatherings of bridge players, drawing in new players as well as experienced ones. Witty in conversation, churning out terrible but somehow funny daily jokes to end a lesson, Steve would always be there to answer a bridge question. His Life Master honor party games were significant events for many of us. I’ll always remember the night Pam, Joann, and I were honored. I said then that Steve provided a cornerstone of our bridge community, and the observation stands today. I only knew him through bridge, and for me as well as many many players, he always provided more than a “game.”
    Joel Lipset

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