Utah Pro Rodeo cowboy dies hours after his wife

Tuesday , September 23, 2014 - 12:10 AM

WEST HAVEN — A northern Utah cowboy legend and his wife of more than 45 years died within hours of each other. 

Jack Arnold Hannum, 70, of West Haven, died on Sept. 16 from complications that followed a ruptured gallbladder he suffered on July 3. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lynn Crittenden Hannum, 68, who died Sept. 15 after a five-year battle with cancer. 

Longtime family friend Tim Parker told prorodeo.com that the Hannums “had one last Diet Coke together and got to say goodbye.”

The couple was married in 1966 and had five children — Jane, Amee, Emily, Olin and Jake.

They both graduated from Morgan High School and later Utah State University, where Jack was a co-captain on the Aggie football team. After graduating from USU, the couple moved to Roosevelt, where Jack taught math and coached football at Union High School, leading the Cougars to a 10-0 state championship season in 1965. He later coached at Clearfield High School. Lynn was a well-known elementary school teacher, spending most of her 30-plus year career in the Weber School District.

After his stint teaching and coaching, Jack began to pursue his dream of rodeoing full time.

An Aug. 4, 1977 news story from the Ellensburg Daily Record in Washington reported on a record-setting performance by Jack at the Cheyenne, Wyo. Frontier Days Rodeo.

“A 33-year-old school teacher from Ogden entered the rodeo books with a record win,” the story said. “Jack Hannum, a third-generation rodeo cowboy, won $10,843 in the calf roping and steer wrestling contests. Hannum became the first rodeo hand to take more than $10,000 out of a single rodeo.”

The story says that Jack ”capitalized on timing and quickness developed when he was an offensive and defensive end in football at Utah State University. Hannum didn’t start rodeoing until his senior year in college, but quickly established himself in the sport.“

Jack worked in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association for 25 years in several positions: rodeo administration, circuit coordinator, and supervisor of pro officials.

Longtime PRCA official George Gibbs said Jack ”raised the bar“ in the PRCA, writing the judges handbook and starting the judging seminars that are still used today.

Brad Hodson, 48, of Hooper, grew up near the Hannums.

”They were just good people,“ he said. ”Always helping kids, always doing things in the community. It’s a huge loss.“

”He was a heck of a football coach and one of the strongest guys I ever met,“ Hodson said of Jack. ”But he was also a guy that, when he spoke, everybody listened.“

The Hannums’ two sons, Olin and Jake, both followed in their father’s rodeo footsteps. The pair both compete today in the PRCA.

Just days after his parents died, Olin took first prize in steer wrestling at the PRCA Wrangler Champions Challenge in Amarillo National Center in Amarillo, Texas.

Funeral services were held Monday at the Wilson Ward LDS church house in West Haven.

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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