WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered to remember a western Pennsylvania graduate student killed in a mass shooting in an Ohio nightclub district last weekend.
Mourners from all stages of the life of Nicholas Cumer, 25, filled every seat in Saturday’s funeral service and lined the hallways of the Piatt and Barnhill Funeral Home in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Elementary school teachers, high school friends, college fraternity brothers, and relatives were joined by scores of others as white folding chairs were set up in the parking lot to handle the overflow.
“He was just infectious. He had a heart bigger than his chest,” said Pastor Brian Greenleaf of Washington Alliance Church after he officiated the emotional service.
Cumer was among nine people killed early last Sunday by a gunman who was then killed by police shortly after he opened fire at a bar in Dayton, Ohio.
Cumer was a graduate student in the master of cancer care program at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and was in Dayton as part of his internship with the Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.
“He just wanted to bring everybody together,” said his friend, Mike Hammond, one of a half-dozen people eulogizing the Washington High School graduate.
“He was an ideal I had in my head,” Hammond said. “If I couldn’t talk to him, I could at least think, ‘What would Nick do,’ and I’d know that that would lead me in the right direction.”
Cumer was born in Reading, lived in Washington, Pennsylvania and graduated from high school there in 2012.
Greenleaf started the service saying he would probably be “smiling and laughing throughout this whole service.”
“Because the images I have of Nick are just that,” he said. “Heaven is a little bit better today because of Nicholas Cumer.”