How to Write a (Great) Obituary: Step-By-Step
Before we find out more about how to write a great obituary, it is also important for us to know the basics. So first of all, let’s understand what is an obituary!
An obituary is a brief news article which reports the recent death of a person, usually with an account of the person’s life and information about the funeral.
Writing an obituary can be tough, gloomy yet meaningful. While it is an extremely personal and fulfilling experience to complete such a crucial task off your list. Yes, that’s right! It is indeed one of the crucial tasks that you have to do. An obituary can be deeply personal and touching if filled with the details of our loved one’s life. The only difference between a normal obituary and a great obituary is usually the nuances of creativity within the limited display of text. One should not go overboard and keep the details true to their personality. Let’s now have a look at a step by step guide to writing a great obituary!
It typically starts with an announcement of the deceased’s passing with their name and a very brief description, age, and date of death. For example: On Wednesday, 09/10/2019, Jane Jones, a loving wife, and mother of two, passed away at the age of 78.
Give the facts:
Some of the important details you will typically like to include in the obituary are:
Full name, including middle name or initial, maiden name and/or nickname,
Age at the time of death
Where was the deceased living at the time of death (city and state)
Date of death
The place and the cause of death, it is optional.
Their Date of Birth and Place of birth (city and/or state)
Names of parents/stepparents
Marriage(s), with the date (month and/or year), location, and name of the spouse(s)
Education details: Such as school, college, university.
Some Achievements, Awards, and recognition
Employment details, if desired,
Place/s of residence (city and/or state)
Also, you may want to include family members of the deceased and add details like survived by and their city/state of residence. The whole idea is to make it detailed and at the same time easier for the reader to obtain information.
Capturing life summary in a few paragraphs:
To make the obituary look great, you need to capture the essence of the person who has passed away. You may include details like – Did they have a common trait? A habit, a recipe, or some creative way of showing love to others? You may also wish to add their hobbies, their sports or interests and include the causes they supported, or any other forms of passion. It would make the obituary look good and compelling.
Share about funeral services: You may include the details of the upcoming funeral services and mention the place and the time of the funeral.
Add special instructions or Quotes
You can add messages, quotes and may also request for special charities such as ‘instead of flowers, donations can be made to..’) or any other appreciations such as Thank you messages for people to mention their contribution and work. People also add a short prayer or a line from a poem that is often seen placed at the end.
Choosing an obituary photo
Obituaries mostly include a photograph whether it is offline or online, it is a wonderful way to remind us of the deceased. Some prefer to go with a recent photo or using their old photo is also not uncommon. Depending upon what suits the moment, you can decide.
These are some of the key aspects of writing a great obituary for someone else. You may also want to write your obituary. Yes, it is common for people to prepare their obituary in advance. It may help your loved ones someday. With growing awareness and acceptance about writing obituaries, people in urban areas do write them responsibly. You can customise it with your details and any special message like How do you want to be remembered in addition to the basic details. You can add your achievements, joy, learnings, happiness mantras, or any message for the next generation. Do notify your loved ones that you have written it as this may not be useful unless they know and have access to the document.
For reference Here are some examples of unusual obituaries