LORETTO – Those who knew Nicholas Cumer describe him as outgoing, genuine, passionate and encouraging.
Cumer, 25, of Washington, Pa., was one of nine people who lost their lives and dozens wounded when a masked gunman opened fire in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio, around 1 a.m. Sunday.
The graduate student was remembered by the campus community, his fraternity brothers, fellow band members and students during a memorial Mass Tuesday evening at the Immaculate Conception Chapel on the Loretto campus.
Cumer completed his undergraduate degree at St. Francis as an Exercise Physiology major and was in the university’s Master of Cancer Care program.
He was residing in Dayton as part of his internship program with Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.
Another St. Francis University student who is part of the same internship program was apparently injured in the shooting and is recovering, according to Father James Puglis TOR, director of campus ministry.
Brother Shamus McGrenra TOR, a stage 4 cancer survivor, saw Cumer weekly as part of an exercise program for post-cancer patients at the university.
“Everything you’ve heard about Nick, you can double and triple that,” McGrenra said.
McGrenra said twice a week, as he completed an hour-long exercise program, Cumer would always encourage him through it. His demeanor showed his dedication to patient care, McGrenra said.
“We are all in shock,” McGrenra added. “He will not only be missed today, he will be missed forever.”
University senior Jenna Hartmann said she also met Cumer through the Master of Cancer Care program.
“Every time I saw him, he had a smile,” she said. “He was passionate about what he did and he treated every patient like family. He always knew what to say to make you feel better.”
Timothy Hornick, of Johnstown, said Cumer was his best friend, but also his Alpha Phi Delta brother. The two pledged together in the spring semester of 2013.
“(Cumer) made me live in the moment,” Hornick said.
Hornick said Cumer’s ability to find friends easily was proven by those who attended Mass Tuesday – sports teams, faculty, members of Greek life and band members.
Donella Loughran, of South Fork, said Cumer was one of the first people she met upon joining the university’s band and he was one of the reasons she decided to stick with the program.
“He made everyone welcome,” she said. “He had a great personality. We always had a good time with him.”
Dan Atwood, director of bands and director for The Center for Fine Arts, said Cumer was a member of the university’s first marching band in 2012, became a commanding officer and still worked with the band as a graduate assistant.
Atwood said band students and alumni plan to celebrate Mass and have dinner together on Sunday. More than 30 alumni have already confirmed, Atwood said, including those who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s event.
“That’s just a testament to Nick and the connections he made,” Atwood said.
Cumer’s fraternity brothers have already started fundraising and brainstorming ways to make sure his legacy is remembered.
“There’s no way of forgetting him,” Hornick said.