Edward B. ('Ned") Goodnow of Darien, who earned a Purple Heart as a combat infantryman in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, will lead the town's Memorial Day parade as its grand marshal.

Goodnow is a native of Norwich. His father, who owned a business there, died during the depths of the Great Depression, when Goodnow was still a child. Despite ensuing family financial challenges, in the fall of 1940, Goodnow was admitted to the prestigious Hotchkiss School on full scholarship. As did many secondary schools, Hotchkiss operated on an accelerated schedule during World War II; Goodnow graduated in three years, in June, 1943. He entered Princeton a week later, completed his freshman year that December, and entered the United States Army the following month.

After training as a rifleman, Goodnow shipped out to Europe with the 99th Infantry Division. The 99th arrived in France on Nov. 3, 1944, and was in the front lines in Belgium facing the German army within a week. Officially designated the "Checkerboard Division" after the design of its shoulder patch, the inexperienced and untried 99th quickly picked up the informal nickname of "the battle babies." But, green or not, in mid-December when the Germans launched their all-out offensive to break the Allied lines, the 99th successfully held its position during the brutally cold, six-week battle. By the beginning of March, it had crossed the Rhine into Germany.

After the war, Goodnow returned to Princeton, where he graduated in 1949. He joined the investment firm of Kidder, Peabody & Co., but was called back into the service after the outbreak of the Korean War. After training as a forward observer with the Field Artillery, he was sent to Germany with the 4th Division as part of the formation of the NATO forces in Europe. After that deployment, Goodnow returned to Kidder, where he remained until 1969, when he co-founded Goodnow, Gray & Co., a financial firm, in Darien. Now, nearly 50 years later, Ned Goodnow continues at the helm of its successor, Goodnow Investment Group, LLC.

Goodnow is an avid outdoorsman, and is dedicated to the pursuit of the trout and the salmon. He and his family are long-time residents of Darien.