Benefit slated for Feb. 24
By Holly Neumann
A benefit for the family of Cori Friday Cummings will be held from 2-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at Bear Lake Resort, N4715 State Highway 22/110, Manawa.
On Oct. 24, 2017, Cori was murdered by her estranged husband, John Cummings, who later committed suicide.
Left behind were her three young sons– Casey, age 12, David, 10, and Joe, 5. They are now being raised by their maternal grandmother, Linda Friday.
Friday recalled when she heard the news.
“I was at work, and I got called to the office. When I walked in, I saw my daughter-in-law Jess who works for the Waupaca County sheriff, and three or four other officers,” she said. “In my heart, I knew something bad happened.”
At first she was told there was an accident.
“This made no sense because Cori and John had argued at my house the night before, and she had told him she was done,” said Friday. “So I knew she would not have gone anywhere with him. Then, they said it was a homicide/suicide and I lost it.”
With help from her pastor and son Tony, Cori’s sons were told the news.
“Telling them there was an ‘accident’ would just have had them conjuring up so many things,” said Friday. “We didn’t want them to find out the truth from someone else so we sat them down and told them the truth.”
The boys have good days and bad days.
“When they are mad they say ‘I wish mom was here,’” Friday said. “All I can really say is me too.”
As for Friday, she takes life one day at a time.
“I am putting one foot in front of the other,” she said. “I don’t know what normal is truthfully. It still doesn’t seem real. I didn’t have a lot of time to process all of this before planning the funeral, meeting with a lawyer for guardianship, meeting Social Security. It still seems endless – counseling, paperwork, school, work.”
She said the support of friends and family has helped her.
“They have my back when I need it,” she said.
Those same family and friends are now planning this benefit, with the proceeds used for the continuing living and educational expenses of Cori’s boys. Cori had no life insurance.
“I always have worked a lot, but now I don’t work as much, so there is less income,” Friday said. “I would have just muddled though. I always have. I would never have agreed to the benefit for myself, but for the boys. I want them to be able to have the extras my own kids didn’t have because I couldn’t afford it. Cori had them in baseball, swim lessons. Casey was in show choir. David had just started band.”
All three boys attend St. Paul’s Lutheran School.
Their biggest need is a new vehicle.
“I’m not very needy,” said Friday. “But I really need to upgrade my vehicle. I have always driven reliable beaters. The boys want a four-door truck, or a suburban type vehicle like their mom had. I just need something a little better because I am now hauling children, precious cargo.”
Friday is amazed by the support she has received.
“It has been so humbling,” she said. “From the amount of people who showed up for the night before and the funeral. The church/school still has a food chain for us, another family makes a meal twice a week for us and I just have to pick it up. There are so many things. Gift cards show up in our church mail box. Someone will send a check in the mail, kind words and encouragement. It all has been so helpful. I cannot even imagine where we would be without it all. I do not have the words to express my gratitude for the generosity and kindness. It has been nothing short of amazing.”
Those who want to donate to the Cori Friday Cummings Memorial Benefit may do so by dropping off donations at Club 161 or St Paul’s Church, in Manawa.
Arrangements may also be made to have donations picked up by calling Pam Bonikowske at 920-244-7494 or Bunnie Schamber at 920-244-7514.
Monetary donations may be sent to Premier Bank, c/o Cori Friday Memorial, 431 S. Bridge St., Manawa WI 54949 or dropped off at any Premier Bank location.