Obituary writing can be a stress-free process if you follow our 10 tips. Writing an obituary is an emotional task and is further complicated by the fact that you likely have never written an obituary. The 10 tips below will help you produce a well-written obituary that memorializes the one you loved.
Tip 1 – An obituary is a news story, it is not a tribute or eulogy. You should only be reporting facts about the person’s life and should keep your opinion out of the obituary. Keep the obituary to the point and do not tell personal stories.
Tip 2 – The obituary should be written in the 3rd person. Do not say, “I will miss him or her”, instead write “he or she will be missed”. The reader of the obituary will not know who wrote the obituary and referring to yourself would cause confusion.
Tip 3 – The first paragraph must be the death notice. The beginning of the obituary announces the death to friends, family and acquaintances. It must include the person’s name, date of death and location of death.
Tip 4 – Including their high school and post-secondary school names and grad years. Also list their previous employer and job position. This will help past classmates and co-workers locate the person’s obituary if searching online.
Tip 5 – Only write about important facts. For example, the deceased may have had a dozen different careers in their life. Typically you would only list their last job, but may also include an additional job if they held the position for a long period of time.
Tip 6 – Choose a few hobbies and interests to write about. The person likely had a lot of hobbies, but you should only choose two or three to include in the obituary that best represent the individual’s life.
Tip 7 – It is not necessary to include all family members. If space is limited, only list the closest family members, and exclude the others by writing a phrase such as “loving nieces, nephews and other family members”.
Tip 8 – Indicate when and where funeral services will be held. If the funeral is a public event, it is important to include the location (with full address) and time of the funeral so that people reading the obituary will know how to attend.
Tip 9 – Friends and family will want to give gifts to pay their respects. Include an address where to send flowers, or the name of an organization and address where they can send donations in lieu of flowers.
Tip 10 – Include a few closing words to end the obituary. This could be thanking a person or organization, or could be a famous phrase, verse or quote, or a personalized piece of text.
In conclusion, if you follow our 10 tips for obituary writing you will be able to produce a well-written obituary for the one you love. Now that you have read the tips above, we suggest that you view a few sample obituaries then download an obituary template to help you write the obituary.
Updated: May 8, 2012