WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport resident, Pulitzer Prize-winning artist and World War II veteran Leonard Everett Fisher will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s Memorial Day parade, William Vornkahl, president of the Westport Veterans Council, announced Tuesday.
Fisher, who’s illustrated hundreds of books for young readers, joined the army on Dec. 1, 1942. During the war, he was a mapmaker, having served with the highly classified operations section of the Army’s 30th Engineer Topographic Battalion — under the direction of Gen. George C. Marshall — and later with Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Area, according to the announcement.
Based first in North Africa and later in the Hawaiian Islands, Fisher participated in the tactical topographic mapping of major Allied campaigns in the Mediterranean, European and Pacific war theaters. These included operations in Italy, France, and the invasion of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the aborted invasion and subsequent occupation of Japan.
After the war ended, Fisher was honorably discharged on Jan. 22, 1946. He went on to attend the Yale University School of Art, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and later a Master of Fine Arts.
From 1954 to 2007, Fisher illustrated about 260 books, 90 of which he also authored. In 1950, he won a Pulitzer Award for painting. In addition to painting, Fisher designed 10 U.S. postage stamps.
Fisher is also a founding member of the Westport-Weston Arts Council, which is now the Westport Arts Center. He and his wife Margery have three children and six grandchildren.
The Memorial Day parade is set for May 27.
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