Nicholas P. Cumer never let on to his friends if there was something troubling him.

The East Washington man who was killed early Sunday in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, always showed his wide smile and caring demeanor to his classmates at Washington High School, said Joe Phillips, president of the school’s class of 2012.

“If anything was going on in his life, no one would have known,” Phillips said Monday, when his classmates were planning a vigil in Cumer’s honor at their high school in the coming weeks.

“You knew he cared about you,” said Phillips, who now lives in Ligonier and coaches football at St. Vincent College.

Cumer’s high school was still trying to come to terms with the much-respected 25-year-old man’s murder.

“Nick was an athlete, involved in the band, prom king and a kindhearted person who was well respected by his peers, teachers and administration of the Washington School District,” district superintendent James Konrad said.

“He positively impacted the lives of everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him, he added.

Cumer was among nine killed and 27 injured when Connor Betts, 24, of Bellbrook, Ohio, opened fire shortly after 1 a.m. on Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton’s historic Oregon District. Betts, who was wearing armor at the time, was shot and killed by police at the scene.

Cumer was in Dayton at the time finishing an internship that was related to his graduate studies in cancer care at St. Francis University in Loretto. He had just been offered a full-time job where he was interning at Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.

Haylea Ellis, who was a couple of years behind Cumer at Wash High, said he was close friends with her family.

“He was one of the best,” Ellis said. “He was never sad, never miserable. He always put you in a good mood and smiled.”

St. Francis will celebrate a Mass in Cumer’s honor at 7 p.m. today in Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus, university spokeswoman Marie Young said.

Phillips said his classmates want to get permission from Cumer’s parents, Ron and Vicky Grove Cumer, before they firm up a date for the vigil. It likely will be held on an upcoming Saturday, he said.

A crowdsourcing fundraiser has been set up by Cumer’s friends to support his family.

It can be found at this link: https://fundly.com/nicholas-cumer-fundraiser.

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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