How to Write an Obituary?
What is an Obituary?
An obituary can be defined as,
"A notice of a death, a story of a life, a record of the extended family, information about a funeral service, a thank you to those who helped out or a request for memorial donations”.
“An obituary can be a compelling story of a life."
Writing an Obituary for the Deceased
Writing an obituary can be a very painful challenge especially if you are close to the deceased. Obituary is a short announcement which is published in the local newspaper to inform the local community about the death of an ordinary or infamous persona. The basic information must be covered, accurately and completely.
Many a times, it happens that the newspapers do not publish obituaries because the editors are extremely busy with other important news and if they notice incomplete information and any fault in the formatting of obituary, they simply brush it off.
Below are some guidelines which will help you reduce any errors while writing an obituary.
Guide Steps for Writing a Proper Obituary for Newspapers, Notices and Funeral Services
- Remember that the purpose of an obituary is bring to the knowledge of readers, how much impact the deceased had on his family and friends and what his major accomplishments in life were.
- All newspapers do not agree on one obituary pattern. So to get an idea about the obituary style, grab a copy of your local newspaper and compose your write up accordingly. You can even ask for obituary templates from funeral homes.
- Before writing an obituary, ask the newspaper editor about the length restrictions for the obituary and cost.
- If you want to get the obituary published the next day, make sure you submit your write up before four or five in the evening.
- Coming to what to include in the obituary-well, you need to provide the full name, age, date of birth, profession, death date and time, and also the name of the place where the person passed away. You can also mention the cause of death here. This information must be concise.
- Write a mini biography of the deceased focusing on his birth place, the schools he went, hobbies, any notable achievements and a few words about his personality.
- After this, include the names of those the deceased is survived by such as the spouse, children, siblings, parents etc. Names of secondary family members can also be included such as uncles, aunts and cousins.
- Mention the place and timings of the funeral. In case, you do not want to disclose, you can simply write,
“…those interested in attending the funeral and share condolence with the family can contact funeral home for further information”
Or if you have not decided the place and timings of the funeral, you can write,
“…the place and timings of funeral arrangement will be announced at a later date/in the next issue”
Here are some basic examples on how to write an obituary:
Obituary Example 1
John Franklin Adres, 62, of New York City, died April 5, 1994, at his Manhattan home.
Mr. Andres was born July 1, 1952, in Kaneohe, Hawaii, to Richard and Emily (Holt) Andres.
He attended Boone High School in Kosciusko, Miss. He continued his education at Holmes Community College in Holmes, Miss., graduating in 1972 with an associate’s degree in construction management.
He enjoyed football and playing Scrabble with his family. He enjoyed his family and attending Broadway shows in NYC.
He is survived by his mother, Emily Andres of Long Island; brothers and their spouses, Richard Jr. and Leah Andres, and Thomas and Maggie Andres; several nephews; and special friend, Eva Gibson of Manhattan.
Arrangements are with Cook Inlet Funeral Home.
Obituary Example 2
Mary Jane Smith, 88, of Miami, died Wednesday.
She was born to the late Donald and Rita Green, Nov. 11, 1919, in Savannah, Ga. Mary graduated from Memorial High School in 1938 and received a BA in English from the University of Georgia in 1942. She married the late John Smith in 1943, and they lived together in Athens, Ga., before relocating to Miami in 1960.
Mary was a high school English teacher until she retired in 1984 and was passionate about making a difference in the lives of her students. She founded the Miami Reads program for underprivileged children in 1968 and was honored with the Dade County Teacher of the Year award in 1966 and 1970.
Mary was an active member of First Baptist Miami Church, Miami Rotary Club and the Dade County Book Club. She loved to travel, and took 20 cruise trips with her husband in her lifetime.
Mary is survived by four children: Jane Doe and Samantha Andrews, of Ft. Lauderdale; Jennifer Brown, of New York City; and Mike Smith, of Miami. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at Green Family Funeral Home. Burial will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Oakland Cemetery.