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How To Write An Obituary

Customs and traditions for placing and writing an obituary notice may vary depending on your religious affiliation, ethnic background or even regionally.

You may find it beneficial to look at an obituary notice in your local newspaper to get a better idea of how an obituary notice from your area is written and presented.

Check with the newspaper to see if there are any restrictions on length before you write the obituary.

Obituary Tips

Remember that the obituary needs to appear in print a few days prior to the memorial service.

The obituary appearing in a newspaper will be more formal than an announcement to family or friends.

It contains specific biographical data about the deceased and information that those wishing to pay respects will need.

Here is a general guideline to help you write an obituary.

  • Paragraph I - give full name, age, date-of-death and place-of-death.
  • Paragraph II - list family and any predeceased relatives.
  • Paragraph III - recount the main events in the person's life, beginning with his or her birth and birthplace. Write about their former employer(s), military service, memberships, etc. You may also want to tell of some of their accomplishments or great passions.
  • Paragraph IV– include a list of schools attended, degrees received, vocation and hobbies.
  • Paragraph V - give accurate information regarding visitation times, funeral services, memorials, mass services etc.
  • In the final paragraph, mention any charities or memorial funds for which you wish people to make donations.

    You might also want to mention any people or groups that you wish to thank publicly for care given to the deceased. You could also include special poems or prayers.

If you are also placing the obituary in a newspaper, many families have found it beneficial to include an invitation to the public to view the notice on-line.

Consider sending the obituary to newspapers in other cities where the deceased formerly lived or worked.

Any and all information to be included in the obituary should be verified with another family member.

A newspaper will have to verify with the funeral home being utilized that the deceased is in fact being taken care of by that funeral home.

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