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What is an Obituary and How to Write an Obituary?

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What is an Obituary and How to Write an Obituary?

How To Write An Obituary

Here we are providing a step by step guide on how to write an obituary. Making an obituary for someone you love is an exercise best approached with care and thought. Like the funeral service itself, an obituary notices our loved one’s loss, expresses the pain of their loss and the joy that their presence among us brought. It enlists the aid of our community, whose support we will require in the coming days, weeks, and months. Most directly, the obituary assists to identify and communicate to the community the passing of our loved ones and to announce visitation, service, burial, and memorial knowledge.

In the obituary, we also want to present the deceased’s significant events and attributes, note that person’s impact on their family and the world around them, and acknowledge the family members they held dear. Unluckily, many of the obituaries we notice in the newspaper and on the web fail to convey the deceased’s personality or contributions in a significant way. They are prepared in haste, in the fog of grief, and the stress of meeting a newspaper deadline. Rather of a significant tribute, they often become a string of hackneyed phrases punctuated by fill-in-the-blanks of personal data. In various areas of the country, there are additional conventions and standard formats for obituaries.

The larger the population served by a newspaper, the extra likely it is that a much abbreviated notice, giving only the barest of information, will be the norm. In more major rural areas, the newspapers may not even charge for running obituaries, leading to more flowery phrases and the inclusion of more biographic information.

How To Write An Obituary

How To Write An Obituary

What is an Obituary? 

An obituary is often the first thought people read in the paper every day – and, for many, it will possibly be the last thing written about their lives. More than simply a goodbye to the dead, it is a farewell detailing their life in chronological order. An obituary also serves as news that an individual has passed away and gives information on any listed services. Since the value of driving an obituary generally varies by length, it is best to be aware of the ‘line rate’ for each paper you need the obituary to appear in before you begin your composition. People often save obituaries as memories of someone they favored, so make sure that the last product is something worthy of a scrapbook and – more importantly – worthy of your loved one’s memory.

Write An Obituary

Write An Obituary

How to Write an Obituary

After receiving the information, you will require an obituary, use a pen and paper, or your computer—whichever is most comfortable for you—to list and organize the essential facts and information you want to include.

Please begin with the full name of the departed, his or her date and area of birth, the date and area of death, and age at the time of death. Also, note where the departed lived at the time of his or her death. If you want, you can include the cause of death.

Summary of Life 

Provide a summary of the deceased’s life, starting from birth and working forward. You don’t need to include every detail, just the key facts/information that helps the obituary reader learn more about the deceased and help the reader determine if they have a personal connection to the person who died.

Don’t worry right now about placing too much information because you can always edit it later.

List of Relatives

List relatives, both living and deceased. Don’t forget to add grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and step-family members. Decide which ones you will consist of by name and those you will consist of by relation only.

In common, obituaries usually carry the full names of the deceased’s parents, siblings, and children, as well as his or her spouse/partner, but only the entire number of grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Also, the spouses/partners of children usually include only their first name in parenthesis after the child’s name, e.g., “Survived by daughter Jane (John) Doe.”

Funeral or Memorial Details

List the information of the funeral or memorial service and reception, if applicable. Enter the name and address (and the website address and phone number, if available) of the funeral provider managing the information and where the burial/interment will take place, if applicable.


List the charities or memorial fund to which you want donations sent in honor or memory of the deceased instead of flowers.

Checking the Facts

Get the names right. Make sure you spell the deceased’s name accurately and the name of any other family member or loved one you include. Ensure you also include the middle name or initial, a maiden name, and any suffixes or titles (Jr., III, M.D., etc.). Have at least one other person proof your obituary for mistakes or omissions.

Proofreading Tip

Here’s an old proofreading method: read the obituary by starting at the end/the last word and reading right to left as you work your way back to the starting. Understanding backward forces your eye/brain to see each info as it appears rather than a part of collections of words.


Q: Do I have to do an obituary?
A: There is no statutory requirement to have an obituary when someone dies. However, an obituary, or an online death notice, can be a great way to share news of the death with family, friends, and the social community.
Q: Who should write the obituary?
A: An obituary often includes personal details, so family or friends will usually write it. However, your Funeral Director will be happy to make recommendations.
Q: Does an obituary have to be published?
A: Obituary notices assist spread the word that a loved one has sadly passed away and are traditionally published in local or national newspapers. However, obituaries don’t have to be issued in print, although online obituary notices are becoming increasingly popular.
Q: What's the basic difference between an obituary and a death notice?
A: A death notice tends to contain key facts such as name, age, date of birth, and death date. An obituary will usually include more information about the person’s life and achievements.