Mail Carrier’s Death May Be Heat Related

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A mail carrier with the Untied States Postal Service died during his shift on Tuesday and his family believes the heat contributed to John Watzlawick's death.

Watzlawick, 57, was found unconscious between two houses at about 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday near 35th & Delaware in Independence.

His wife, Kay, said her husband didn't feel well on Monday and wanted to stay home.

"My husband actually called into the post office Monday saying, 'I don't feel good.' And the supervisor told him, 'No! You were off last week on vacation.' So my husband, being a proud man, finished the route that day," Kay Watzlawick said.

She said he came home on Monday and fell asleep on the couch, still not feeling well.

"My husband is a big man," she said. "He couldn't eat when he came home. And the next morning, he said, 'I can barely choke down toast,' because he didn't feel good. And he gave me a kiss goodbye, not knowing that would be the last time I would see my husband."

While the Postal Service declined to talk about Watzlawick, a Postal Union steward did tell FOX 4 that at least two other letter carriers required medical attention this week because of the extreme heat.

Watzlawick worked for the postal service for 28 years. His route required him to walk up a lot of hills in the Independence neighborhood, but customers said he did an exceptional job.

"Inclement weather didn't seem to bother him one way or the other. It just didn't bother him," Don Underwood, a resident on Watzlawick's route. "He'd be here like I say in that 15 minute bracket. If there was 6 inches of snow on the ground or if it was raining or below zero, he'd still be here."

Watzlawick leaves behind four sons and four grandchildren. He was eligible for retirement in two years.

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