Writing an obituary while grieving can be a genuinely challenging task. You want to write the perfect testimony to a life that impacted you greatly, but often the words fail us. It can be a struggle to capture the life of the deceased, and often we aren’t sure what is required. Titan Casket is here to offer advice on how to write obituaries that celebrate the spirit of the departed, as well as a basic obituary template to get you started.
How Do I Begin To Write An Obituary?
Start by taking some notes. Don’t worry about format or even writing in complete sentences. Just start getting your thoughts down, and you’ll be surprised at what will come from it. Begin by collecting details about the deceased. You need to note the person’s full name, where they were born, their age, where they lived, and the date of their death. You’ll want to know facts of their employment, military service, and the names of their immediate and, sometimes, their extended family (and their relationship to the departed). You may want to include information on where they died and the cause, although that is not required.
You also will want to share information on the venues for visitations, funeral services (including at-home events), or memorial services that are open to the public. If you would prefer mourners to send monetary gifts to a favored charity rather than flowers, you will also need the information about where those memorial gifts should be mailed.
Should I Include Hobbies Or Interests In The Obituary?
You can. As you write down your notes, think about what the deceased loved to do. If they were an accomplished pianist, skier, writer, or gardener, you might want to include that. Did they love to travel? Were they particularly active with any one organization? Did they have any quirky habits, or was there one special thing about them that always made you smile? If any of these things ring true, you can include them in the body of the obituary.
What Tone Should I Use When I Write An Obituary?
Obituaries are often a reflection of the people being described. Did they have an outrageous sense of humor? If so, you may want to add a piece of warm, funny text that captures that. However, you should not feel pressure to be overly amusing nor should you feel the need to be rigidly serious. Of course, at times, the circumstances surrounding someone’s death may dictate how light or serious the tone should be.
How Long Are Obituaries?
There is no set length for obituaries, even those printed in the newspaper. It is perfectly appropriate to keep them short and for you to use the obituary as a forum to announce the death and any public funeral details. However, it is also entirely acceptable to go beyond the basics and include a summary of the things you valued most about your loved one. The level of detail is up to you.
Is There An Obituary Template I Can Use?
Yes. Titan Casket has put together a general guide to help you structure obituaries. These sections and headlines are simple suggestions to get your thoughts flowing as you write and should not be considered strict requirements.
- Death Announcement
- The full name of the departed (if they went by a nickname, you could also include it here)
- The age of the departed when they died
- The date of their death
- The name of their resident city at the time of their death (you may also want to include a city/state where they lived most of their life if the town they died in was a relatively new residence)
- The location of their death (hospital name, etc)
- Cause of death (customary, but not required)
Celebration of Life
- Date and place of birth
- Names of close family that survives the deceased (you can include their locations if you desire)
- Names of close family that predeceased the departed
- A special mention of a surviving spouse, including the length of the marriage, is often encouraged
- Educational details, military service (including the branch and dates served), and employment activities
- Special recognitions and awards
- Hobbies, interests, or favorite charities or other organizations
- Personal notes about beloved aspects of your loved one, from a description of their spirit to their favorite saying
Funeral or Memorial Services
- Date, day, time, and location of the funeral or memorial service (including the number to call for more information)
- Information on the visitation (if applicable): day, date, time, and location
- Information on the reception (if applicable)
- Information on graveside service (if open to the public) or location of the interment
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- Mailing address for flowers or organizations receiving donations in lieu of flowers
- Information about a memorial fund (if applicable)
- A meaningful poem or quote
Do you have additional funeral planning questions? Titan Casket is your trusted ally in the funeral business. We want to help you plan the funeral you want at a fair, affordable price.