How to Write an Obituary
Do you know how to write an obituary for a loved one or for yourself? There is a very specific format for these pieces and some required information.
Are you having to write an obituary for your loved one? It’s common to since more than 2.4 million people die each year in the U.S. alone.
Are you looking for advice on writing an obituary? In this article, we here at Lone Star Cremation will go over how to write an obituary to honor your loved one. Read on to explore these top tips and go from no obituary experience to an obituary that will be a beautiful reflection of your loved one’s memory.
The Announcement of Death
After your loved one passes, you’ll want to include their full name, the location where they lived, died, date of death, and age. It’s up to you whether you’d like to include the cause of death as well.
You’ll also want to include who survived their passing( the names and relationships) and have details about the memorial service and donations. You’ll also want to state where to send flowers.
Ask Family and Friends for Stories
When you think of your loved one, what’s something that always comes to mind? Do you or another person have fond memories and stories of them? Don’t be afraid to remember funny as well.
Keep It Short
You don’t need to write a long obituary for it to be special. Keep in mind where you’ll be placing the obituary whether it’s through a newspaper or other location, they might have a word limit.
Look for Inspiration
Before beginning, especially if you’re stuck and don’t know what to say, it’s a good idea to look at other obituaries. Grab your local newspaper and turn to the obituary section. Today, you can find obituaries on social media, publications, and in local newspapers.
What to Include in an Obituary
After writing the basics such as their full name and date of death, you can go into a summary and list their relatives. Provide a summary of their life with facts about them.
Make sure to list any relatives whether they’re living or dead. This will help those reading the obituary whether they have a connection to your loved one or not.
Make sure to add funeral or memorial services. Not everyone decides to have a funeral. Some decide to do just a memorial if they have decided to go with cremation services.
At the end of the obituary, you can ask others to donate to your loved one’s favorite charity. Remember that as you’re coming up with information, it’s honoring your loved one, so you don’t have to focus too much on the funeral information.
The format should go:
- Name, age, residence, etc
- Photo of them
- Where they were born, parents names, and date of birth
- Career including retirement
- Education and volunteer work
- Religion if any
- Family and Friends
- Funeral arrangements/memorial services
What Made Them Unique?
An obituary format should include what made your loved one unique. Maybe they loved their garden or loved to write.
You’ll want to dig further than just where they went to school and retired from. If you and your family are stuck, you can reach out to professional obituary writers or funeral directors for guidance.
It’s Ok to Be Serious
It’s up to you whether you share funny stories or not in their obituary. Some people prefer a more serious tone for their passing, while others want the fun memories remembered.
Take into account the person’s age and cause of death when deciding if it’s the right place for humor. If you know them well, it’ll be easier to write the obituary. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, reach out to other friends and family of your loved one.
Set a Price
When you go to submit your obituary, it’ll cost money, so it’s a good idea to figure out your price limit. You can contact your newspaper or funeral home to ask them the font size and column width.
Prices are often calculated by the column inch. Ask if there are any length maximums.
Ask for the Deadline
Many papers will have a deadline at about 4-5 pm. You’ll want to send in your obituary long before this time. Some newspapers will take obituaries after this deadline.
If you submit it later than the deadline, it’s more likely to have an error in the paper since the editor didn’t catch it. The editor might not have enough time to look it over when it’s past the deadline.
Before you submit your obituary, read it out loud to correct any errors. It’s a good idea to use spellcheck as well. Spellcheck might not catch everything, so it’s a good idea to proofread it yourself.
As you go, if you notice an error, stop reading and correct it before proceeding. Take your time and avoid distractions. After you’ve finished proofreading, it’s a good idea to have another close family or friend read it as well.
What accomplishments did your loved one do in their life? When you’re writing obituaries, you’ll want to include accomplishments they did.
For example, maybe they wrote a book, or maybe they obtained their Ph.D. Think about their accomplishments and what mattered most to them, whether it was education, personal accomplishments, or volunteer work.
Exploring Tips for How to Write an Obituary
Now that you’ve explored the top tips for how to write an obituary, you should be well on your way to writing a piece that will honor your loved one. Are you planning all the services for your loved one?
Are you not sure whether to go with a traditional burial or cremation? Whether you’re planning ahead or your loved one recently passed, you can set up cremation services completely online. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call during the online process.