OGDEN — Jared Francom was remembered Wednesday as a good-humored bear of a man with a spiritual side who nonetheless loved the adrenaline rush of adventure.
Francom’s funeral was attended by an estimated 4,000 people, half of them in uniform.
Francom’s three brothers took the podium to tell tales of their big brother before a Dee Events Center crowd that included U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, as well as Steven Snow and Lynn Summerhays from the presidency of the Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Jared’s motto was ‘Go big or go home,’ ” his brother Ben said. “He was an adrenaline junkie.”
Ben recalled his brother and his motorcycling and ATV buddies as always trying to outdo each other. “He always tried to go bigger, sometimes a little too big for his skill and ability level.”
Sometimes Jared injured himself, but he always worked to overcome those mistakes, he said.
Youngest brother Gunner Francom said Jared “was an avid skydiver and loved his motorcycle” and at age 14 suffered an ATV accident that sent him to the hospital.
“Ever since then, he’s donated blood to try to thank those who helped him,” he said.
Francom, 30, was fatally shot as he and fellow members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force served a search warrant the night of Jan. 4 at the home of a suspected marijuana grower. Five other officers were injured, three critically.
Francom, of Hooper, was born in Brigham City and attended schools in Ogden and California and high school in Las Vegas. He married high school sweetheart Erin Frisby in 2004, the same year he joined the Ogden Police Department.
They had two young daughters.
A third brother, Travis Francom, said while training for his LDS mission in the church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, he got a letter from Jared saying he missed his “big little buddy.”
He read from the letter: “You are stronger than me. I couldn’t do the mission thing. I decided to do the party thing in Vegas.”
Ben Francom told the crowd of mourners he would be going on an LDS mission when he turned 19, “because Jared wanted me to.”
He called his body-builder brother “not only a big mortal person, but a spiritual giant.”
Troy Combs said, “I had the honor of being his friend before I was his bishop.”
While so many people say police work was Jared’s first love and the narcotics strike force his dream job, “I have to say I disagree,” Combs said.
“Every time I talked to him, he wanted to talk about his family, about Erin and (daughters) Samantha and Hailey, and what he needed to do to make them an eternal family.”
Combs counseled, like many of the speakers, about meeting Francom in the next life.
“Death is not the end. … Jared is preparing the way for us,” he said. “He’ll be there to greet us when we pass through the veil.”
Combs related an incident from Francom’s viewing at the mortuary Tuesday night, adding, “I have permission to tell this story.”
Francom’s grandmother, Donna Crouch, said she felt Francom’s presence, Combs said.
“She heard Jared’s voice. He said, ‘Hey, Gram, it will be all right. I’ll be seeing you soon enough.’ ”
Ogden Police Lt. Troy Burnett said Francom always razzed him about being older.
A sergeant on the strike force during most of Francom’s two-plus years there, Burnett recalled, “He used to say I was so over the hill he couldn’t even see me. … He could drop a joke in at just the right time to make our job easier.”
The services concluded with the remaining members of the strike force serving as pallbearers to lead the crowd in forming the funeral procession to the Ogden City Cemetery.
It took at least 40 minutes for all of the several hundred police vehicles, with overhead lights activated, to depart the Dee Events Center parking lot, leaving it empty.