How to Write an Obituary

    At a minimum, an obituary is a notice in the newspaper of a death and funeral arrangements. But it can be much more: a record of the extended family – both living and dead, a thank you to those who helped out, a request for memorial donations. Most importantly, an obituary can be a compelling story of a life. In addition, an obituary can be the inspiration for a funeral eulogy, the start of a longer memorial on the Internet, a piece of a memoir for the family, or part of genealogical research.

    The following headings are meant as a general guide. Make sure that you have considered everything that is usually covered, then select what you would like to include, and also decide what order you would like to use. (From ObituaryGuide.com)
    NAME / ANNOUNCEMENT
    ◦ Full name of the deceased, including nickname, if any
    ◦ Age at death
    ◦ Residence (for example, the name of the city) at death
    ◦ Day and date of death
    ◦ Place of death
    ◦ Cause of death
    LIFE
    ◦ Date of birth
    ◦ Place of birth
    ◦ Names of parents
    ◦ Childhood: siblings, stories, schools, friends
    ◦ Marriage(s): date of, place, name of spouse
    ◦ Education: school, college, university and other
    ◦ Designations, awards, and other recognition
    ◦ Employment: jobs, activities, stories, colleagues, satisfactions, promotions, union activities
    ◦ Places of residence
    ◦ Hobbies, sports, interests, activities, and other enjoyment
    ◦ Charitable, religious, fraternal, political, and other affiliations; positions held
    ◦ Achievements
    ◦ Disappointments
    ◦ Unusual attributes, humour, other stories
    FAMILY
    ◦ Survived by (and place of residence):
    ▪ Spouse
    ▪ Children (in order of date of birth, and their spouses)
    ▪ Grandchildren
    ▪ Great-grandchildren
    ▪ Great-great-grandchildren
    ▪ Parents
    ▪ Grandparents
    ▪ Siblings (in order of date of birth)
    ▪ Others, such as nephews, nieces, cousins, in-laws
    ▪ Friends
    ▪ Pets (if appropriate)
    ◦ Predeceased by (and date of death):
    ▪ Spouse
    ▪ Children (in order of date of birth)
    ▪ Grandchildren
    ▪ Siblings (in order of date of birth)
    ▪ Others, such as nephews, nieces, cousins, in-laws
    ▪ Pets (if appropriate)
    SERVICE
    ◦ Day, date, time, place
    ◦ Name of officiant, pallbearers, honorary pallbearers, other information
    ◦ Visitation information if applicable: day, date, time, place
    ◦ Reception information if applicable: day, date, time, place
    ◦ Other memorial, vigil, or graveside services if applicable: day, date, time, place
    ◦ Place of interment
    ◦ Name of funeral home in charge of arrangements
    ◦ Where to call for more information (even if no service planned)
    END
    ◦ Memorial funds established
    ◦ Memorial donation suggestions, including addresses
    ◦ Thank you to people, groups, or institutions
    ◦ Quotation or poem