Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 10.20.2022

A Simple Guide To Writing Obituaries For Loved Ones.

A Simple Guide To Writing Obituaries For Loved Ones.

Reviewed By: Joshua Siegel

Cross Checked By: William Prout


    How To Choose An Obituary Outline

    Losing a loved one is never easy. Writing their obituary can be hard since the emotions may be overwhelming and you may not know what to focus on in your writing. A few simple tips are to read up a few sample outlines online, decide on the format for the obituary, and then trust your instinct.

    Sample Obituaries For Newspapers

    Chronological obituary

    The standard obituary conveys the chronological story of the deceased. Here’s a sample outline:

    1. Identification markers such as name, city of residence, nickname, age, and date of death.
    2. Details about their early life including their place of birth, number of siblings, and parent’s information.
    3. Details about the school and/or university that they attended or the military branch in which they served.
    4. Information about their marriage.
    5. Information about their children.
    6. Details about their career.
    7. Details about any clubs or societies that they were a part of.
    8. A list of the people they’re survived by such as their spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.
    9. Information regarding the funeral service including the date, time, address, and any specific requests.

      Obituary for a child

      Usually, the chronological format is not used while writing obituaries for children.  The focus is usually on the child’s likes and dislikes, their personality, and what they meant to the parent. Consider the following sentences: “she loved playing with dogs” or “he was very fond of chocolate” etc. 

      Obituary for a pet

      The loss of a pet can be just as devastating as the loss of any other family member. Hence, you can honor your pet’s memory with an obituary focused on your pet’s personality, the games you played with your dog or cat, their favorite good, the way they made you feel, or how they greeted you after a long day at work.

      Obituary Outlines For A Website Or Social Media

      If you plan on writing a longer obituary, then consider getting it published on a funeral home website or social media. The website allows for longer obituaries compared to newspapers, but apart from this, they’re written similarly. You may go through a few samples to get an idea of how to get started.

      Death announcement on social media

      1. You can begin by explaining your relationship with the deceased. If you’ve already published an obituary in a newspaper, then you can share the link to it here.
      2. In the second paragraph, try to share some of your special memories with the deceased. You can take your time to think and choose the things that you wish to write about. Perhaps, you can also mention how you felt about them and how their death impacted you.
      3. In the closing paragraph, you can mention the details of the deceased’s funeral services to invite their friends and loved ones.

        Funeral home website obituary

        In some cases, the writing format is provided by the funeral home website itself.  Here’s what a typical obituary outline looks like –

        1. Write about the identification details of the deceased such as their name, date of birth, place of residence, etc.
        2. Follow it up with the details of the funeral and mention any special requests that you may have like a specific dress code.
        3. In the third section, you can talk briefly about the early life of the deceased.
        4. You can follow up with the information about the marriage and children of the deceased, as these are the people closest to them.
        5. In the fifth section, you may discuss the career accomplishments of your loved one.
        6. Some people are part of many clubs and societies. You can talk about it here.
        7. In the final section, feel free to mention the deceased’s interests, hobbies, or personality traits.

          Biographical sketch of the deceased

          Social media is a space to express personal opinions. Here, you can discard the rule book and freely express your emotions and relations with the deceased. Instead of a standard obituary, you can write an intimate obituary such as:

          1. You may begin the eulogy with why the deceased was so special to you and their loved ones.
          2. In the following paras, describe their personality traits and share personal anecdotes with them.
          3. Since you may have several anecdotes, focus on writing about one anecdote per paragraph before moving on to the next one.