How to Write an Obituary

Obituaries are used to announce the passing of a loved one. Through this announcement, it is common to provide details regarding any services that may be taking place and to share information about the life of the person who passed.

When writing an Obituary, it can be difficult to know where to start. Obituaries usually follow a common format that includes the General AnnouncementA Brief Summary of Their LifeFamily Members (who have passed and are still surviving),  Memorial or Service Announcement.

  1. General Announcement: 
    The General Announcement usually includes the Full Name, Birthplace, Age, and Date of Death of the individual who has passed away. Some families will also include the cause of death of the individual who passed. This information is usually shared when it holds a special meaning to the family – to heighten awareness, help with donations, to provide understanding and/or closure.
  2. A Brief Summary of their Life:
    Obituaries can serve as a long-lasting record that can bring comfort to those who are grieving and help to celebrate the life of our loved ones. It is common for an obituary to include:  Any of life’s big “milestone’ events (such as marriage, having children, retirement, etc), major accomplishments, hardships faced, or fond memories.
  3. Family Members (who have passed and are still surviving):
    It is common to include any immediate family members who have already passed away, as well as the surviving family members in an obituary.
  4. Memorial or Service Announcement:
    It is common to Include any service information in the obituary.
    If there will be a service, it is helpful to include:
    • The type of service being held (Memorial, Celebration of Life, Funeral, Mass, etc.) 
    • Where the service will be held.
    • What time the service will take place.
    • Note where, if applicable, donations or flowers can be sent. 
    • Any Special Requirements or Notes for the attendees (such as preferred dress codes, observed traditions, or any special requests)

If a service is not taking place, you can mention any other special requests or actions that can be taken to celebrate or provide comfort to those grieving, such as where to send flowers or donations, if applicable. 

This article offers ideas on how to honor a loved one in this way or even NBC News features an article by Nicole Spector who walks you through the steps of writing a meaningful obituary.