How To Write An Obituary

Begin the obituary with the deceased person’s full name, age, city of residence, and date and place of death. Beyond the name, you should include his/her nickname. Often older people are known by that rather than their formal, given name.

In the following paragraph, include his/her birth date and town, the parents, giving the mother’s maiden name in parenthesis. Include his/her marriage date, where, and to whom If they had special celebrations, such as their golden wedding anniversary, list those here.

By the third paragraph, you can write his/her educational degrees, places of employment, organizational memberships, hobbies, special interests, and what the deceased person will be remembered for. These might run to another paragraph, depending on the person’s involvement.

Then you should write the person’s survivors, beginning with spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters (with the spouse’s first name in parenthesis) and their city residence, aunts, uncles, and nieces and nephews.

Next list the people who have preceded the person in death such as his/her parents or a spouse.

Following comes the date and time of visitation, if any, and the funeral. Some families prefer a private funeral with an open visitation. These preferences should be noted for the readers.
If a luncheon or dinner will be held after the funeral, mention this. If the person has died in severe winter weather, a spring date might be set for a memorial service.

If a memorial fund is established for the deceased, include that next. If the fund is for a special cause or organization, add that. This might be a specialty of the readers, and they might want to donate more. Sometimes the memorials are “in lieu of flowers.”

Always add where the readers may phone for more information such as Anderson Funeral Home, the city, and phone number. If the funeral home has a website, include this for those who want to write in the memorial book.

While some persons write their own obituaries prior to death, very few do. Knowing what to include in an obit is vital to give your loved one his/her credit in life and to inform the area of his/her death. You might want to submit this same obit to other newspapers where the person’s friends or family reside.

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