How to Write an Obituary

Wondering how to write an obituary that honors a person’s life and memory? An obituary does more than announce a death notice; it’s a meaningful way to reflect on the life of the deceased and share their story with friends and family.

Here’s a friendly guide to help you navigate this sometimes difficult task, ensuring you create the best obituary. If you need additional assistance, please consider our Written Obituary package. You provide us with pertinent information and we will do the hard part for you.

How to write an obituary

Here’s our step-by-step guide to remembering a loved one:

1. Begin with basic information:

  • Full name of the deceased: Include maiden name, if applicable.
  • Date of birth and date of death: These key facts paint the timeline of a person’s life.
  • Place of birth and place of death: Essential details that give context to a life’s journey.

2. Dive into the life story:

  • Biographical information: Highlight significant events from elementary school to high school and beyond. Include any military service or honors.
  • Character traits: Describe what made them special.
  • Significant achievements: Whether they made the best fresh-cut fries in town or had a long list of honors, celebrate them!

3. Family connections:

  • List family members: Start with immediate family members and extend to close family members and best friends. A loving wife or husband? Mention the spouse’s first name. Surviving family members and great-grandchildren deserve a special mention, but not all need to be listed by name.
  • Special thanks: Recognize close friends or caregivers who played a significant role in recent years.

4. Services and special requests:

  • Funeral service or memorial service details: The date, time, and location of the funeral can be listed. If unsure, consult the funeral director or funeral home website.
  • Special message: This is a good way to express family wishes. For example, in lieu of flowers, you can request donations to a memorial fund or charity.
  • Social media and other platforms: Mention if there will be an online obituary or if sharing on social media platforms is acceptable.

5. Additional information to consider:

  • Cause of death: It’s common to include, but not a legal requirement. Share this only if the family wishes.
  • Publication: Consider if you want the obituary to appear in a local newspaper or big platforms like the New York Times. Some opt for the local paper or the funeral home website.
  • Maiden name and middle name: Essential for biographical accuracy and for those searching for the obituary.
  • Personal touches: Personal anecdotes or a short prayer can be added for a more meaningful obituary.

6. Review and finalize:

  • First draft and review: Writing an obituary, especially during a time of grief, can be overwhelming. After the first draft, take a short break. Return with fresh eyes or even ask a best friend to review.
  • Essential details: Ensure all important information is included, from the full date to the place of residence of the deceased.
  • Publication: Decide if it will be published in a local newspaper, on a funeral home website, or shared on social media. Each platform may have guidelines to follow.

Closing thoughts:
Writing an obituary carries great responsibility. But remember, it’s also a beautiful opportunity to celebrate the life of a person and provide comfort to those grieving.

Whether you’re writing a short announcement or longer versions filled with biographical sections of the obituary, your words will make a difference. Sending strength and warmth your way during this challenging time. 🌼

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