How to Write an Obituary for the Newspaper

by Whitney Coy

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult, and preparing for a funeral while dealing with that tragedy is even harder. Many funeral homes will take on the task of writing an obituary to submit to newspapers, but family members often choose to write the obituary themselves. The information included in an obituary can vary from one person to the next, but the point is always the same. An obituary not only informs the public of the deceased's passing but also honors his life and accomplishments. Check with the newspapers you're going to submit the obituary to to learn word count restrictions and other requirements.

Standard Information

State the deceased's full name, as well as any nickname people may have known him by.

State the date he passed away, as well as his age at that time.

Give the deceased's date and place of birth.

Give his city of residence at the time of death.

Describe plans for funeral services, as well as where flowers or donations should be sent if there is a preference.

Optional Information

Include survivors of the deceased, including immediate and extended family.

List family members who preceded him in death.

List the cause of death, either specifically or vaguely, if you wish. You may choose to state that he passed away "suddenly" if the death was unexpected, or "after a long illness" if he had been sick.

List his educational history as well as any degrees or certifications earned.

List his career history, especially any companies for which he worked for an extended period of time.

Include his religious affiliation and name his church as well as how he was involved.

Include any military history and any decorations.

List any hobbies or volunteer work, especially those most important to the deceased.

Include a short story or memory of the deceased that loved ones hold close to their hearts.

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