After writing an obituary for a loved one, it can be placed in a local newspaper as a means of announcing the recent death of the deceased. You can also include a more detailed obituary inside the Funeral Program at the service for a special keepsake and celebration of the life of your loved one. Writing an obituary can take a little time but it can also be used and read in several places such as the Funeral Program, Funeral Service, and an announcement in the newspaper.
Writing an obituary is not as intimidating as it may seem. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a writer, you can still accomplish writing an obituary by following some simple guidelines. An obituary provides a short biography of your loved one and includes facts about their life from birth to death. The length of the obituary is whatever you would like it to be. Keep in mind however, that the local newspaper that will be printing the obituary will have space limitations so it is best to check with them on the number of words or characters that you are allotted.
You might also want to ask the newspaper if they would like the obituary in a specific format and then you can prepare it along those lines. Some use a condensed version of the obituary in the newspaper and provide a lengthier version within the Funeral Program or have it read during the service. When writing an obituary, be sure to include biographical details such as: age, reason for death, place of birth, closest surviving family and relatives, and important employment or civic contributions.
There are usually monetary charges for having an obituary or funeral notice published in your local newspaper which will vary depending on the newspaper’s circulation. If your loved one was of special importance to the community, a larger obituary may be written in the form of a news story. But in most cases, it will be up to you or the person who writes the obituary to write a news story that is above the standard obituary format. It may be similar to a mini press release with an accompanying photograph.
It’s helpful to gather some information about the deceased before you begin writing an obituary. You may need to get some facts about his or her life by asking several members of the family. There are website resources that provide a free checklist on specific items to obtain in preparation of writing an obituary which you may find helpful. If you need help in organizing content and historical facts about the deceased, this form can serve as a great tool.
A resume of the deceased may also provide to be a good resource to obtain work history and career oriented information. If you are having the service at a funeral home, most funeral home directors prepare the obituary for the local newspapers but you will still need to provide them with the biographical details of the deceased.
The following information notes the information that is included when writing an obituary for a local newspaper:
The name of the deceased
Date of birth and birthplace
Date of death
Surviving spouse, children, relatives
Employment or career briefing
When and where the funeral or memorial service will be held
A longer obituary may get into more details about the deceased, like sharing their hobbies, faith, marriage, and early career beginnings. The best thing to remember when writing an obituary is to write in celebration of your loved one’s life. Write as if you were sharing your loved one’s life in chronological order of events to another person. Your obituary will be treasured and reread by many people who were a part of the decease’s life.