Oct. 16—Joseph Curseen Jr. tells his wife, Celeste, that he may have food poisoning. Three days later he leaves work early from work, something he rarely does, and says he has the flu.

Oct. 20—Curseen faints at the 5 p.m. Mass at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. “A parishioner called 911 and a rescue squad arrived to revive him. He insisted that he was fine and remained through the end of Mass before going home,” said Father Tom Pollard of St. John's. That night Curseen goes to work.

Oct. 21—Curseen is facing nausea and profuse sweating, and Celeste takes him to the emergency room of Southern Maryland Hospital Center. An X-ray turns up nothing. Hospital spokesman David Clark says doctors were unaware that Curseen was a postal employee. He is sent home.

Oct. 22—Curseen collapses at home and returns to the hospital in an ambulance. It's now clear just how sick he is. Curseen dies later that morning. Fellow Brentwood postal worker Thomas L. Morris Jr., 55, died the day before.

Oct. 27—Hundreds attend Curseen's funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Washington.

—Tim Drake