Obituary Writing - A How-To-Guide

Writing an obituary is simple, but some data collection will be need initially. If you don’t have all of the information you need, you’ll want to gather the needed information as soon as possible including funeral home information. Below is a general guideline to the information you will need and an explanation of how to write an obituary.

The basic obituary usually includes:
–Full name of the deceased
–Date of Birth
–City and state of residence where they were living when they passed away
–Name of significant other (alive or deceased)
–Time, date and place of viewing, burial, wake and memorial service arrangements–If you don’t have this information yet, you can always write something such as, “funeral arrangements are being made by So and So Funeral Home, please contact them for details.” That way those who are interested can contact the funeral home for more information. You can let the funeral home know what you would like them to share with those who call in requesting information.

Other things you might want to include:
–City and state of birth
–City and state of other residences–You may want to include this if: most of the person’s life was spent living in a different place from where they died, they lived in a town or city that was important to them or if they were well known or did something notable in a previous town.
–Parents’ names and residences–Some people only include these if they’re still alive, but others give tribute to a deceased parent (ex: “daughter of the late James Franklin”).
–Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s names and residences–If this list gets too long, you can eliminate the names and locations (ex: “four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren”).
–Other family members (nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, etc.) and special friends– Again, this can make your obituary quite long (and can get political if you include some names, but not others), so you may want to leave these people out unless you have a small family.
–Activities–Include churches, clubs, organizations, volunteer groups, hobbies and other things that were important to your loved one.
–Vocation and places of employment
–Notable accomplishments
–Degrees and schools attended
–Military service
–Date of marriage
–Personality traits and anecdotes
–How they died–Most people don’t include this information, but it’s up to you. If someone died while in the war or during a major catastrophe, you may want to include that information.
–Where people should make a memorial contribution. If you’d rather people not send flowers, tell them where they can make a contribution. Again, think about what your loved one would want.

Here’s a basic obituary template that you can use to get started:

Obituary Template
NAME, AGE, of RESIDENCE, died (passed away, went to heaven, etc.), DATE (cause of death optional).

HE/SHE was born (PLACE, DATE OF BIRTH, PARENTS). NAME graduated from SCHOOL and received DEGREE from SCHOOL. HE/SHE was married to SPOUSE’S NAME.

INSERT OPTIONAL BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION HERE: Employment history, accomplishments, organizations, activities, etc.

HE/SHE was survived by CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, ETC. (Make sure to separate each entry with a semicolon or it can get messy. See the example below.)

Funeral arrangements will be held TIME, DATE and PLACE. (Insert funeral home information here)