How to Write an Obituary

Writing an obituary is one of the most difficult acts to do after a loved one has died. Loved ones don’t want to sit down and focus on such a task. Here is a step-by-step guide to writing an appropriate obituary.

You might consider asking a friend or family member who is not as close to the tragedy to write the obituary. You can provide any information they need and proofread their work afterwards for factual errors.

Remember that simplicity is a key in writing an obituary. You’re purpose is to inform the public who has died and where services can be held. The obituary should let them know the key facts about the deceased, as well as where and when they might have known the deceased. An obituary is not a eulogy, so you should be concise when writing it.

Here is the information in order it should be listed.

1. The Announcement

Include the full name of the deceased and the address at which they lived. Also include the date, the place and the cause of death. Do not be gruesome. If the deceased died of wounds in a car accident, simply mention they died in a traffic accident. The announcement should be no longer than one or two sentences long.

2. A Short Biography

This includes the date of birth and the birthplace. Also include the deceased person’s parents’ names. Include educational accomplishments, keeping in mind the age of the deceased. If the person was older, simply place the high school and college attended. For a younger person, place the last two schools attended in the nearby area, such as an elementary school, junior high or high school. Mention any degrees or certifications that were held.

If the deceased served in the military, mention their service. If they are a veteran of a war or conflict, make certain to mention this. If not, mention the primary place they were stationed.

Mention the person’s major work history and make certain to list the spouse.

Include membership of any churches or civic organizations. Mention any major hobbies which brought joy to the deceased person’s life or people might have known about the person.

3. Surviving Family Members

Mention those members of the family who survive the deceased. Mention immediate family first, whether this is wife and children or parents and siblings. Next, mention secondary family members, starting with grandparents and including aunts and uncles, first cousins and grandchildren.

Next, include family members who preceded the person in death, including spouse, parents, siblings, children and grandchildren.

4. The Ceremonies

Mention where the memorial services will be held for the deceased. Include the family night, memorial service and the grave side burial. Include the day, the time and the place for each of these.

5. Memorials

If there is a memorial fund established in the name of the deceased, mention where donations can be made. This saves the surviving family frequent questions during their time of mourning.

6. Other Acknowledgements

Give public acknowledgements for anyone who was a primary care giver of the deceased.

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