How To Write An Obituary

The point of this article is to assist you in creating an obituary. An obituary gives information about the deceased’s life.  It serves to inform the public of their passing and offers information regarding the upcoming funeral and memorial services.  An obituary should honor the deceased and inform the public of their passing.

When writing an obituary, you must first decide if you would like to write a short and basic obituary, or a longer more descriptive obituary.

The 1st Type – Short and Concise

1 Paragraph is sufficient for this type of obituary. It will simply inform the public of your loved one’s passing.

You should include this information:

Full Name
Place of Residence
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Memorial Service Plans and Interment

Usually this is the type of obituary found in newspapers. It will not mention circumstances of death, family members left behind, career, hobbies or achievements.

The 2nd Type – More detailed and longer

The type usually contains several paragraphs to outline the deceased’s life.  You should use this type of obituary in funeral programs, prayer cards and keepsakes for guests attending the service.

You should include this information:

Date of Birth and Place of Birth

Date of Death and Place of Death

Circumstances of Death (This section is optional depending on the cause of death. In the event of a suicide, you may opt to not include. This can be general with illnesses such as cancer or Alzheimrs. You may choose to simply write a prolonged illness. This can be done at your discretion.)

If applicable include the viewing plans and the memorial service

Education information. Name of their high school and college.

Military service and achievements if applicable.

Religious information. If they were members of a particular church.

Employment history including retirement

Family relations. Names of both living and pre-deceased. Include spouse, children, parents, siblings, stepchildren, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Awards and Accomplishments

Organizations in which they attended. Religious, volunteer, veterans etc.

A picture or a collage of pictures to be included in the funeral program is usually advisable. It is not necessary to choose the most recent picture. You want to honor their entire life.  An example could be when they were receiving honors for the military. This picture might be 10 or 20 years old, but would represent the deceased quite well. In a collage of pictures, you may want to included pictures from their childhood up to their passing.