LORETTO, Pa. (KDKA) – The chapel at Saint Francis University was overflowing Tuesday evening for a young Washington County native who dedicated his life to helping others.
At 25, Nicholas Cumer had already done so much when his life was cut tragically short in the mass killing in Dayton over the weekend.
At Saint Francis University, one of the oldest Catholic universities in the country, compassion and peace are among the core values of the school’s mission.
And for those who knew Nick, they say he truly embodied those values.
Grief and pain after an ugly tragedy cut through the heart of such a beautiful place.
Immaculate Conception Chapel at Saint Francis University in the Laurel Highlands was overflowing with those honoring the life of Nicholas Cumer.
“He has a heart for service and that’s one of the reasons he found his way to Saint Francis University,” said Lisa Georgiana, Director of the Center for Community Engagement.
The president of Saint Francis said “Nick was dedicated to caring for others,” and that “he touched so many people during his time at Saint Francis.”
Love and sorrow were both shared for Nick’s bright light and generous spirit, taken from this place and world tragically last weekend.
“Changed people’s lives and really improving their situation,” said Zachary Woodley, Nicholas’ former Roommate.
Nicholas Cumer, 25, was a graduate student at Saint Francis in the Master of Cancer Care program.
He had completed his undergraduate work majoring in Exercise Physiology.
Nicholas was in Dayton as part of his internship program with the Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, where they had just offered him a full-time job.
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“Nick was always someone who would do anything for anybody. I got to work next to him every day,” Woodley said.
Everyone at Saint Francis shared stories with KDKA’s Pam Surano of what a wonderful young man Nicholas was, especially Katie.
“When I got the news, I just fell to my knees. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” said Katie Vitez, Nicholas’ best friend.
“He was absolutely my best friend. We spent a lot of time together. He was one of the best people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Vitez said.
Katie, who had Nick’s initials tattooed on her ankle today, describes him as kind, compassionate and driven.
Nick was a 2012 graduate of Washington High School, a National Honor Society member and a tennis doubles champion.
“We met through some mutual friends, and just clicked immediately,” Vitez told KDKA News.
“It’s just hard to deal with the fact that I have to live the rest of my life without him in it.”
Nick was as an undergraduate and graduate student at Saint Francis, so he really made an impact at Saint Francis University for many years and was just about to bring his gifts to the broader world.
A memorial service for Nick will be held in Washington County later this week.