How to Write an Obituary

Before you worry about how to write an obituary, it’s important to clearly define what this is and how it will be used. The primary purpose of an obituary is to formally announce the death of an individual. Typically, an obituary will include basic details surrounding the death, such as when the person passed away, how old they were, and where they lived.

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STAFF WRITER

After the death of a loved one, you might be asked to write a meaningful obituary for a newspaper, social media platform, and/or website. At a minimum, an obituary informs people that someone has died and includes details about the funeral, memorial service, and/or burial. At its best, an obituary can summarize a person's life and legacy.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how to deal with the task of writing an obituary. Of course, if you don’t want to do this on your own or are struggling to get the words to come together properly, Memoria is here to help. This task can be handled by a funeral advisor, so you can focus on grieving with your family and navigating this difficult time.

How to write an obituary

What is an Obituary?

Before you worry about how to write an obituary, it’s important to clearly define what this is and how it will be used. The primary purpose of an obituary is to formally announce the death of an individual. Typically, an obituary will include basic details surrounding the death, such as when the person passed away, how old they were, and where they lived. Other details like basic family information and perhaps a short bio will often be included, as well.

The other use for an obituary is to provide information about the service that will be held in the person’s honor. In years gone by, this may have been the only way to distribute information about a funeral service effectively. While we have many more technologies available for getting that information around to family and friends, it remains common to include it in an obituary. 

How to Write an Obituary Example

Every obituary is different, as it needs to be customized to the individual in order to be meaningful. However, you can use the template below as a good example of how you can structure the obituary you need to write.

  • Start with the basics

    • The full name of the deceased

    • Their age

    • Their date and place of birth

    • The date and place of death

    • Where the deceased lived

    • The cause of death (which the family may wish to withhold)

  • Provide a brief summary of the deceased's life, starting from birth and working forward. Think of yourself as a storyteller. You're going to tell the story of someone's life. Either way, try to be choosy about the information you include. Ask yourself:

    • Would the reader find this piece of information interesting?

    • Does it help "keep the story going"?

    • Does the anecdote reflect something the deceased was known for?

  • Name immediately family members. List relatives, both living and deceased. Include the full names of the deceased's parents, siblings, and children, as well as his or her spouse/partner. Also mention grandparents, aunts, uncles, and step-family members.

  • Conclude with details about the service. Simply share the information you know, which is your primary goal anyway.

Donations

It's now common to ask readers to forgo sending flowers in favor of making a donation to a charity or memorial fund. The choice is up to the family. Just be sure to name the charity or memorial fund to which donations should be sent. An address helps, too.

How Can Memoria Serve You?

We can help you with the difficult task of figuring out how to write an obituary, but that’s only the start of our services. We’ll also connect you with the best vendors for your needs, and we’ll help you create a beautiful service that stays within your budgetary limitations. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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