How to Write an Obituary

by eHow Culture & Society Editor, studioD

An obituary is usually written in paragraph form and charts the life of the deceased in chronological order. It should focus on accomplishments of the deceased person and the impact that person had on his or her family, friends and community.

Check with the newspaper to see if there are any restrictions on length before you write the obituary.

Give the deceased's full name and date and place of death.

Recount the main events in the person's life, beginning with his or her birth and birthplace.

Include a list of schools attended, degrees received, vocation and hobbies.

Acknowledge any survivors, including parents, spouse and children.

Announce when and where the funeral, burial, wake and/or memorial service will take place.

Conclude with a statement regarding where memorial contributions can be sent, if applicable.

Time the publication of the obituary so that it runs a few days before the memorial service.

Tips

  • Consider sending the obituary to newspapers in other cities where the deceased formerly lived or worked.
  • Clip copies of the obituary to send to out-of-town friends and family.
  • Read some of the obituaries in The New York Times. They are usually beautifully written and tell the story of the deceased in a wonderfully personal way.

Warning

  • Most newspapers charge by the word or by the line to publish obituaries. Keep it brief if money is an issue.

Items you will need

  • Word Processors
  • Black Ink Pen
  • Newspaper
  • Paper