An obituary serves as a notification that an individual has passed away and the details of the services that are to take place.  But it can be far more than that – a well-crafted obituary can detail the life of the deceased, with style.

An obituary’s length may be dictated by the space available (and the related costs) in the newspaper it is to appear in. Therefore, it is always best to check before you get started.

What Should You Include?
Naturally, it should include the deceased’s full name, along with the location and date of passing so that there is no confusion over who has died.  You may wish to include a photograph with the text. There are usually extra charges applied if you are thinking of using a photograph.

If you want, mention where the deceased resided – city and region/state or county is all that is necessary.  In a concise manner, write the significant events in the life of the deceased.  This may include schools he or she attended and any degrees attained, you may also include any vocations or interests that the deceased was involved with.

Add the Names of Those Left Behind…as well as Those Who Went Ahead
It is common to include a list of those who have survived the deceased, in addition to those who passed away prior to the death of your loved one.  For example:

  • Parents
  • Spouse and children
  • Adopted children
  • Half & step-children
  • Siblings
  • Half & step-siblings
  • Grandparents

The relatives listed above may be listed by name.  Other relatives will not be mentioned by name but may be included in terms of their relationship to the deceased.  In other words, the obituary may mention that the deceased had 5 grandchildren or 7 great-grandchildren.  Also, anyone listed as a special friend or companion is not normally included amongst the list of survivors unless the deceased’s blood relatives request that it be so.  The obituary’s traditional purpose is to list survivors either related through the bloodline or marriage.

At this point list the details of the time and location of the service, as well as the place of interment for the deceased; also any memorial donations requested by the family.