Fred Hayner, 78, whose painted caricatures decorated the noses of American bombers and fighter planes during World War II, died June 17 of cancer at a hospital near his home in Troy, N.Y.
Hayner's "nose art" is considered some of the best produced during the war, when the artwork was a popular morale booster for pilots and air crews. It consisted of anything from a Vargas-girl style pinup to an illustration of a pilot's wife or girlfriend to some sort of political slogan.
Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Hayner lived most of his life in the Troy area. He went into the Army Air Corps as an airplane mechanic assigned to the 434th Fighter Squadron, but was made the squadron's painter when his artistic talent was discovered in England.
After the war, Hayner ran a silk-screening business for 30 years. Much of his artwork is on display at the Wings of Freedom Museum in Huntington, Ind.