Learning how to write an obituary is not as difficult as you may think. Even if you have never written an obituary before, after reading this article and a few sample obituaries you should have no problem writing a touching obituary for the one you loved.
Before you begin to write the obituary you will need to collect the information for the obit. You will have to interview family members and possibly some friends of the deceased. Try to collect as much information as possible, then sort the information into categories and remove any irrelevant information.
After you have collected the information it is time to write the obit. We have separated the obituary into five sections, which will make it easier to learn how to write an obituary. For further tips and tricks on learning how to write an obituary, consult our obituary writing articles. Then read some examples of completed obituaries and download an obituary template to help you write the obituary.
Follow each step below in order to produce a properly formatted obituary:
1. Death Notice
An obituary always begins with the death notice, which notifies friends and relatives of the deceased’s passing. Start with the person’s full name (including any nicknames, middle name and suffixes), followed by their age, date of death and last residence. Next, you can optionally include the cause of death as well as the location of death.
2. Life History
The second section is where you can get the most creative. Here you will provide a summary of the person’s life accomplishments. Typically this begins with their place of birth, education (high school and post-secondary), marriage (spouse’s name, location and date) and career (past employer and job description). Next, you should write about their hobbies, interests and favorite activities. Finally list any significant achievements and awards as well as any associations (charitable, fraternal, etc.) that they belonged to.
The third section begins with the person’s surviving relatives. They should be listed in order of spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces and nephews. It is optional to include the children’s and sibling’s spouse’s names. To save space you may also exclude the names of nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren. Follow this section with the predeceased relatives, listed in the same order.
The fourth section includes all funeral events, which could include the funeral service, wake, burial and more. If the events are private, you should indicate so. Otherwise, for each event include the location name, address, time and date. The name of the funeral home handling the funeral arrangements should also be listed.
The final section should indicate where flowers can be sent, or memorial donations sent in lieu of flowers. Next, you can optionally include a thank you to any people or organizations that helped care for the person. Finally, it is common to include some closing words, such as a poem, verse, hymn or personal message.
Now that you know how to write an obituary it is time to collect the information for the obit. Next, we suggest that you read one or more sample obituaries to see how a completed obituary is written. Then download one of our fillable obituary templates for an easy to use step-by-step template for writing an obituary.
Updated: May 8, 2012