George Pineman, 78, a longtime businessman and New Milford resident, died Oct. 9 at his home. He was the husband of Karen (Kallenbach) Pineman, to whom he was married for 52 years.

He was the owner of Pineman Sign Co., a residential and commercial sign company based in New Milford that marked its 50th anniversary in April.

Mr. Pineman was born Feb. 13, 1934, a son of George M. and Ella (Degen) Pineman. He grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. In his youth, he was a Boy Scout.

His interest in sign-making in junior high school led him to a technical high school, the School of Industrial Arts, now the School of Art & Design, in New York City, where he graduated with a degree in sign and show cards.

Shortly after graduation, he relocated to New Milford in 1951 and first took a job at New Milford Block, where he lettered his first truck, and later at the former Robertson's Bleachery in town, where he lettered his first fire truck (in 1954) and worked until 1955. He later worked at Melvin Sign in Danbury.

In 1957, Mr. Pineman was drafted into the service. He completed two years' active duty in the U.S. Army, with time served in Germany and later, El Paso, Texas.

He opened Pineman Sign Co. at 16 East St. -- the home of the business today -- in April of 1962.

Mr. Pineman witnessed the evolution of the sign industry, having gone from the days of sketching on paper and hand-painting by eye to designing on a computer.

Throughout his years in business, his craftsmanship graced thousands of signs for individuals, organizations, schools, businesses, celebrities and others throughout the community and beyond. He designed, built, repaired and replaced signs.

In the early years, he set up staging and hand painted billboards, including those along Interstate 84 in Danbury and Route 7 in New Milford.

Since 1972 up through this year, he lettered fire trucks for departments in the region, including Gaylordsville, Northville and Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2 and others, as well as police vehicles, ambulance, race cars and more.

A community-minded businessman, Mr. Pineman demonstrated a commitment to the town, often in quiet, unassuming ways.

He applied the stars and lettering on the tank on the Village Green as part of a project for a local Boy Scout, and assisted with other community projects.

Among the signs he made are the "Welcome to New Milford" signs on Route 7, the large, green New Milford sign near Veterans Memorial Bridge and the "New Milford" sign on the railroad station in town.

Throughout his career, he was known for his keen eye for detail and design, professionalism and love of the community, and for the pride he took in his work.

Mr. Pineman was a familiar face around town and at local coffee shops, where he met a group of friends, who are part of the ROMEO club, on a regular basis for breakfast.

He was known for telling stories and sharing jokes. He loved working around his house.

Mr. Pineman was an honorary member of Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2 in New Milford and New Milford Community Ambulance Corp., and a member of St. Peter's Masonic Lodge in New Milford.

Mr. Pineman served as a justice of the peace for many years.

He was known to many as Uncle George.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Pineman is survived by a sister-in-law, Jeanne Holden of New Milford; a brother-in-law, Robert Kallenbach and his wife, Marion, of Milford; a sister, Ella Tiberio, of New York; five nieces, Connie, of New York; Linda, of New Jersey; and Suzanne, Bonnie and Maureen, all of Texas; and 10 nephews, Parker Holden and his wife, Stephanie, and their daughter, Emily, of Harwinton; Eric Holden and his wife, Ana, and their children, Gabriel and Gigi, of Atlanta; Jimmy Holden, of New Milford; Mark, Tim and Christopher Kallenbach; Michael Tiberio, of Roxbury; and John, Robert and Randy Pineman.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by three brothers, Robert W. Pineman, Herbert Pineman and August Pineman.

Calling hours will be Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge St., New Milford. A celebration of life reception will follow from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Arion Singing Society at 411 Danbury Road (Route 7 South) in New Milford. Friends are invited to share their remembrances and jokes.

Memorials may be made to Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, 8 Prospect Hill Road, New Milford CT 06776; or to New Milford Community Ambulance, 1 Scovill St., PO Box 102, New Milford CT 06776.

The Lillis Funeral Home in New Milford is in charge of arrangements.