Northern Utah cowboy legend Jack Arnold Hannum and his wife, Lynn Crittenden Hannum, died within hours of each other last week, leaving behind a legacy usually found only in Nicholas Sparks novels.

“They had one last Diet Coke together and got to say goodbye,” longtime family friend Tim Parker told prorodeo.com

Lynn had been battling cancer for five years and passed away on Sept. 15. Jack followed her on Sept. 16 from complications related to a ruptured gallbladder he had been suffering with since July.  

The Hannums, who were married in 1966, were widely known in the Northern Utah community — they both graduated from Morgan High and Utah State University. Jack was an Aggie football star and after graduating coached football at both Union High in Roosevelt and later at Clearfield High. Lynn spent most of her 30-plus years in education as an elementary school teacher in the Weber school district.

Jack was also an iconic rodeo star for Northern Utah, working for 25 years in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association, even writing the judges handbook that is still used today. 

Many fans, family, friends and students expressed their love for the Hannums on social media following their passing. 

Rodeo Video Inc. said “they were devoted to rodeo...but even more devoted to each other” and that they “honor them for their family and rodeo tradition” in a post to their Facebook page Sept. 17. 

“We were sorry to hear of Jack and Lynn's passing,” said Marry Dolven in a comment on Jack’s obituary on myers-mortuary.com. “I always looked forward to Ogden and Idaho Falls rodeos because I knew I would have a good visit with Lynn. Russ and I enjoyed rodeoing with Jack, and loved it when he had one of the kids along when you were little. The young guns of the PRCA are reaping the benefits of Jack's hard work and dedication to the circuit system and the pro judges.”

Organizations and companies like RodeoCountryRadio.com and Champions Choice Buckles tweeted their respects.

Kendra Santos, director of communications at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association said that Jack and Lynn “were godsends to this sport” in a Sept. 16 tweet and then posted the news of their son, Olin’s big win just days after his parents passed away. 

“Takes a lot for Olin to jump on a plane, fly down, perform and come back and all while dealing with his loss, way to cowboy Olin!” said Facebook user Kimand Mark Ramsey on Rodeo Video Inc.’s post.

Five-time world champion bullfighter and 2006 ProRodeo hall of fame inductee Rob Smets posted prayerful love and support for the Hannum family on his Facebook page. 

Past students of Lynn's also shared their love.

Olin and Jack, the Hannum's other son, will carry on Jack’s legend, as they are both PRCA competitors. Jack and Lynn are survived by their five children (Olin and Jack, and daughters Jane, Amee and Emily) and Lynn’s mother, Paula Crittenden. 

Have memories of your own? Share them with us via the comments below.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!