Hilmar Bruno Ahnert

January 7, 1920May 17, 2012

Hilmar “Bruno” Ahnert died at his home in Old Lyme on May 17, 2012 with his son and daughter at his side.

Bruno was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada in 1920. When he was eight years old, his family moved to the United States and he grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bruno was stationed in Alexandria, Louisiana, with the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. It was there that he met and married his wife, Norma Marie Carbo, and where their two children, Linda and Glenn, were born.

Returning to Connecticut with his young family after the war, Bruno made his living in the structural steel business. He worked for steel fabricating companies in Stamford, Bridgeport, and Newington. He would eventually become the owner and president of his own company—Coastal Steel Corporation in Salem. During the thirty years that Bruno lived in Salem, he participated in civic affairs and served on various committees. He helped to design and acted as the “clerk of works” for the addition to the Salem Town Hall and oversaw this project to its completion in the early 1990s.

When he retired, Bruno kept a promise that he made to his wife—he enrolled in art classes. He began with fine art courses at the Greater Hartford Community College and subsequently studied at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.

After moving to Old Lyme in 1998, Bruno joined the Lyme Art Association and became an elected artist member. He has exhibited his paintings at Connecticut shoreline galleries and at the State Capitol building in Hartford.

In 2005 Bruno held a special art sale at his home for a Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. He wanted to help because of his deep, personal connection to Louisiana—Norma’s home state. They had spent many happy times in New Orleans. Norma died in 2003 and Bruno was especially proud to have raised money by selling his artwork.

He was a man of great spirit and a truly “unforgettable character.” Bruno spent his final weeks surrounded by his family, eating a final lobster roll, listening to Tchaikovsky symphonies, Strauss waltzes, and Gershwin tunes. And he watched Red Sox games. On the easel in his studio is a small canvas of a mountain laurel grove in his back yard. Though unfinished, it is a lovely painting.

Bruno is survived by his daughter Linda of Old Lyme; son Glenn and his wife Susie of Waterford; granddaughter Jackie Meislitzer and her husband Andy of Oakdale; granddaughter Kristin Custodio and her husband Dave of East Lyme; and three great-grandchildren—Aiden and Ava Meislitzer, and Stella Custodio. Also surviving is Bruno’s sister, Elly Kida of Greenwich.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bruno’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123 or to Hospice Southeastern Connecticut, 227 Dunham Street, Norwich, CT 06360.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, June 2 at 11 a.m. at the Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme. Please visit to leave online condolences.


  • Graveside Service Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hilmar Bruno Ahnert

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Olwen & Nigel Logan

June 2, 2012

Dear Linda and family,
Bruno was not only a kind and caring man, who always had a twinkle in his eye, but also a wonderful artist. We will constantly be reminded of his tremendous spirit and great skill by his paintings in our home. Please accept our deepest condolences on his passing.
Olwen, Nigel and family

Brian and Donna Hallas

May 25, 2012

Dear Linda and Glenn

We are so sorry to hear of your fathers passing. He was a terrific person.

Anthony Connor

May 23, 2012

Your father certainly lived a full life. He was fortunate in the end to have you with him all the way. In my mind, he is smiling and nodding his assent.

Moe Grenier

May 22, 2012

My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I'm also grateful for Bruno's military service.

May 22, 2012

To Linda and family. Please know that my thougts and Bob's are with you at this time. We always enjoyed our chats with your father and taking in his artwork. He did some great work. Hope to see you soon, Linda.

Carolyn Gilbert, Canterbury and Mississauga, Ontario

Jeanne Jamieson

May 22, 2012

Jackie & Kristin:
We're so sorry about your Grandfather. Remember all the good times you shared with him. Always treasure that he got to hold your children in his arms! Those are precious memories.
Jeanne & Bobby

Jeanne Jamieson

May 22, 2012

Uncle Glenn & Aunt Susie,
We are so sad about the loss of your Dad. He was a great guy and we loved seeing him when he visited the camper. Smile when you think of him.
Jeanne & Bobby

May 22, 2012

Deepest condolences to the entire family. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Rachel Meislitzer-Ramadan

Leeland Cole-Chu

May 22, 2012

Linda and Glenn,
I am very sad to lose such a wonderful gentleman and friend. I send my deepest condolences.
Lee Cole-Chu

Tracy Phillips

May 21, 2012

To Mr. and Mrs. Ahnert, Jackie, Kristin, your families and Aunt Linda - my deepest condolences you all on the loss of your father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was a wonderful, spirited and talented man whose absence will be felt profoundly. Keeping you all in my thoughts.