4 Tips For Writing An Obituary

When a loved one dies, you are most likely overwhelmed with sadness, but you would also like to honor their life and memory. A great way to do this is by writing (or helping to write) their obituary. While many funeral homes and even newspaper obituary sections have template obituaries for you to use, you may decide to write something unique and personal instead. Here are four tips for writing an obituary:

Start by Reading Sample Obituaries

To get a good feel for how most obituaries are structured and flow, and what type of information they contain, you should start by reading local obituaries online or in the newspaper. It can be especially helpful to read obituaries from the specific publication handling your loved one's obituary. If you are feeling stuck, you can ask the funeral home for a template, or even find one online.

Aim to Be Factual and Complete

In order for people to find the obituary, or use it to find other pertinent information, it should be factually accurate and complete. For example, the obituary should include the following:

  • Complete name, including maiden name and perhaps a nickname if that's what they went by
  • Names of spouse and children
  • How many grandchildren they had, or their names if there aren't very many
  • Date of birth and death
  • Where they lived
  • Time, date, and location of the funeral
  • Suggestions for mourners to donate money to your loved one's favorite charity or toward funeral costs

Talk to Friends and Family

While many obituaries just stick to the facts, it can be a lovely touch to incorporate a few endearing memories, hobbies your loved one enjoyed, or even a funny anecdote about them. Since you are not the only one grieving your loved one, it's a good idea to talk to other friends or family members to see if they can think of any meaningful or interesting details to include.

Details like how much your loved one cared for dogs, their military service, or even that they made pancakes for the whole family every Sunday morning for twenty years can make the obituary more touching and personal.

Pay Attention to Specific Requirements

Does the newspaper where you're submitting your loved one's obituary have specific guidelines and requirements? It's important to check before turning in your obituary draft to help ensure it gets accepted and published in a timely fashion. For example, many newspapers have word count limits as well as specific information that must be included in the obituary.

A well-written obituary can help honor your loved one's memory and be shared with all who knew them.

For a funeral home in your area, contact a facility such as Fletcher Funeral Home PA.