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Writing an Obituary

An obituary is a lasting tribute to a person who has passed away. It details certain elements of their life, celebrating it in many cases, while notifying the public of the person’s death as well as any arrangements that have been made. While writing the obituary is a great honor, it can also seem like an intimidating responsibility. Yes, it is a difficult task and brings you close to a variety of emotions, but it can also be cathartic and healing.

We’ve put together this guide to help you write a beautiful, moving obituary that celebrates the life that has passed on and holds on to the beautiful memories that you will cherish forever.

Take some time just to remember.

Memories are powerful and during this time they may be difficult to face. However, when you allow yourself to wander through your favorite memories of the person you are writing about, and spend some time thinking about the things you loved most about them, you will find that at least some of the grief is soothed by the joy you had. What did they love? What were their hobbies? What were they passionate about? What made them special? Jot down your favorite memories of them and find ways to incorporate those into the final copy.

Talk to other people who knew them.

You are likely not the only person whose life this person impacted. If possible, reach out to family members, friends, and colleagues to see if they have something to share. This can give you remarkable inspiration, but has the added effect of getting to know your loved one even better.

Write down everything.

When you first start writing, don’t worry about form or structure, simply brainstorm. Write down all the beautiful memories you have and have uncovered as well as the pertinent facts you want to include. There is no right or wrong way to do this, you may simply write a few words that will spark the memory, or you may opt for more organization by using headers or bullet points. The choice is yours, just get the information onto paper, you can arrange it later.

Create your outline.

Now that you have your details collected, you can begin to construct the obituary. Most obituaries follow a specific structure:

  1. Notification and cause of death
  2. Biographical sketch
  3. List of surviving family members
  4. Pertinent details on services to be held, charities accepting donation on the family’s behalf, etc.

Write from your heart.

There is no right or wrong way to write an obituary – and you don’t have to be a professional writer. Simply write from your heart. Keep it simple and avoid using flowery or difficult terms. You don’t want to detract from your subject – your loved one. Keep the focus on them as you pay tribute to their life.

How to submit an obituary.

Typically, it is best to have an obituary published one to two days before any public service or gathering is scheduled. This will allow people time to make plans to attend if they wish.

While you are responsible for writing the obituary, we have two options for publishing:

Submitting an Obituary

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