Writing an obituary can certainly be a deeply personal and meaningful way to commemorate the life of a loved one who has passed away. It serves as a lasting tribute, capturing the essence of the person and the impact they had on the world. This guide will walk you through the process of how to write an obituary, offering insights, examples, and online resources to assist you along the way.
Download the printable checklist here to make sure the obituary contains all of the most essential information.
Why Write an Obituary?
An obituary serves several important purposes:
Honoring a Life – It celebrates the person’s life, accomplishments, and the unique qualities that made them special.
Notifying the Community – It informs friends, family, and the community about the passing, providing an opportunity for people to pay their respects.
Historical Record – Obituaries become a part of the historical record, preserving the individual’s memory for future generations.
Steps to Writing a Comprehensive Obituary
1. Gather Information
Start by collecting essential information:
- Full Name – Include any nicknames or preferred names.
- Date and Place of Birth – Specify the birthdate and location.
- Date and Place of Death – Mention the date and location of the passing.
- Family Details – List surviving family members, including spouse, children, grandchildren, and siblings.
- Education and Career – Highlight their educational achievements and career milestones.
- Hobbies and Interests – Include their passions, hobbies, and interests.
- Community Involvement – Mention any community or volunteer work.
- Notable Achievements – Highlight significant accomplishments.
- Service Details – Include information about funeral, memorial, or burial services.
2. Structure the Obituary
Follow a clear structure to convey the information effectively:
- Opening – Start with the full name, date of birth, and date of death.
- Biographical Information – Provide a brief overview of their life, including education, career, and family.
- Achievements and Passions – Highlight notable achievements, hobbies, and interests.
- Community Involvement – Mention any volunteer work, organizations, or causes they were passionate about.
- Survivors – List surviving family members, including spouse, children, and siblings.
- Service Information – Include details about memorial services, funeral arrangements, and any requests.
3. Write with Sensitivity
- Use a respectful and compassionate tone.
- Focus on positive aspects of the person’s life.
- Avoid sharing controversial or overly personal details.
4. Edit and Review
- Proofread the obituary for accuracy and grammar.
- Ensure all details are correct, including service information.
5. Include a Photo
Consider including a recent photo of the deceased to personalize the obituary.
Online Resources for Obituary Writing
Several websites offer templates, examples, and guidance for writing obituaries:
- Legacy.com – Provides obituary writing tips and templates.
- ObituaryGuide.com – Offers a step-by-step guide to writing an obituary.
- Elegant Memorials – Offers free obituary templates.
- ObituaryHelp.net – Provides tips, templates, and examples.
Example of a Well-Written Obituary
[Full Name], aged [age], passed away peacefully on [date of death] in [place of death]. [He/She] was born on [date of birth] in [place of birth] to [parents’ names]. [He/She] graduated from [school/college] and went on to have a successful career in [career field].
[He/She] was a devoted [spouse/parent/grandparent] and is survived by [list of surviving family members]. [He/She] had a deep love for [hobbies/interests] and dedicated [his/her] time to [community involvement].
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to [charitable organization]. A memorial service will be held on [date and location].
Please join us in celebrating [Full Name]’s life at the memorial service, where we will remember [his/her] enduring spirit and the joy [he/she] brought to all of us.
Writing an obituary is a heartfelt way to honor a loved one’s life. By following these steps and utilizing online resources, you can craft a meaningful tribute that preserves their memory for years to come.
For a complete list of steps to take after someone passes away read “After Loss – Practical Steps & Funeral Planning Checklist.”