How to Write an Obituary – Information to Include

By: Anderson Funeral Home
Monday, September 26, 2016

How to Write an Obituary – Information to Include

Writing an obituary can be a challenge. It requires taking an entire lifespan and condensing it into just a few paragraphs. The most important facts or accomplishments will be different from the perspective of each individual, but there are some standard tips on how to write an obituary that will make this project a little easier.

Preparing to Write an Obituary

1. Contact the newspapers or other locations (such as the funeral home) where the obituary will be published or displayed to determine any requirements or restraints.

2. Make a list of all important facts. Include the dates of important events – birth, death, marriage. You will also want to include a list of all major awards or accomplishments.

3. Ask others to make notes about the things or events that the loved one spoke of most often. Stories that we tell over and over hold a special place in our hearts and minds. You may want to include some of these special events in the obituary.

4. Make two lists of family members – one for those that preceded the loved one and another list for those that survived the loved one. Include how they were related in the lists.

Once you have a list of all the information, it is time to sit down and write out the obituary itself. The actual format of the obituary is up to the writer – within the parameters given by the publications. It can be lively, informative, or even fun. It should reflect the personality and life of the person being featured.

Important Information to Include in an Obituary

  • Name of the deceased
  • Age of the deceased
  • Date of the death
  • Funeral or memorial service information – date, time, location
  • List of surviving family
  • List of predeceased family
  • Marriage information
  • Education information
  • Awards and recognitions
  • Special or significant activities
  • Employment information
  • City of residence
  • Charitable activities or interesting hobbies
  • Other legacy information
  • Information on memorial funds or requests

Create the first draft of the obituary and then read it out loud. You may want to let others read the obituary, as well. Look for any errors in the facts (including spelling of names and dates). Be certain that the length of the obituary meets with the standards provided by the publications. Make notes about any additional information or stories that you think should be added to help reflect the life of the loved one.

Write out a second draft of the obituary. Again, read through it for any errors in facts, grammar, or spelling. Reading the obituary aloud is a good way to check for issues in the format. It is always a good idea to get another set of eyes to review what you have written. Once you are confident in the format and flow, send the obituary to the publications.

Writing out the life story of an individual in just a few paragraphs can be a big challenge and huge responsibility. Invest some time in getting all of the facts together and then make sure that the end result reflects the life and heart of the deceased. Following a few tips on how to write an obituary can make the process easier.

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