How to Write an Obituary

How to Write an Obituary

An obituary, to some, is considered as a practical way to convey the wake, viewing, and visitation details of a loved one who passed away. However, it can also express the emotions of those who were left behind. The sadness and grief of the loved ones, along with their need for support, can also be conveyed in the obituary.

Therefore, an obituary is more than just a practical means to inform the community of the death of a loved one. To help you prepare, here’s a simple guide on how to write an obituary and the elements that you need to consider.


Read Published Death Notices

Both online and newspapers are useful resources to get an idea of how an obituary post flows. Acquaint yourself especially if this is your first time to write one. Although not a requirement, it is best to write within the newspaper’s guidelines. If they have a template, use it and thank yourself later. You’ve avoided numerous edits, multiple revisions and it speeds up the overall submission process.


Content Guidelines

Demographics of the deceased must be in the first part of the obituary. This includes the name, age, residence, date of death, and where the deceased died. The person’s spouse, date of marriage, children, and parents can also be included. It is your discretion as a family if you want to include the cause of death in the obituary.

Another thing you can include is a biographical sketch. The description can include the individual’s achievements or his or her contribution to the community. Anything that you deemed is relevant to the person’s sketch can be included. Just remember that this is not an autobiography. Some information can be omitted, such as if the deceased is divorced or not.

The content of the obits can also be more than just a sketch. You can also add the deceased values, traits, and qualities that stood out. This is important to make the obit as personal as it can be for those who know the deceased.


Details of the Funeral and Interment Service

The last part of the obit must include the details of the service. Specifically the time, date, and location. Details of the burial must also be included regardless if the family had decided for a private burial. If it’s open to all, include the place of interment for those who want to take part in the service.

You can also add the details of the visits if it’s applicable. Specifics such as the days of the visits, time, and place must also be included.


Other Useful Info

Include a photo of the deceased in the obit, though it can become more pricey if published in the newspaper. But this will help the readers easily recognize the deceased so make sure that the photo’s a recent one.

Also include memorial donations or funds established in the deceased name. In this way, the community will know where to reach out.

Obituaries are part of commemorating the life or lives of loved ones. Therefore, it must not only be informative, but it must also be an expression of the life and love of and for the deceased.