About Obituaries

An obituary is a notice or announcement of a person's death. It includes an account of the person's life and information about the planned funeral service. In the past, obituaries appeared mainly in newspapers and were stilted, somber and, except for the famous, generally quite short. Today, obituaries appear in newspapers as well as various online memorial sites.

Obituaries are often written in the tradition of a press release featuring successes, accomplishments, and triumphs - capturing the very best of every individual. Colorful details also fill out a picture. Did the honoree love to tango? Barbecue? Have a great sense of humor and a wonderful laugh? A well-written biographical obituary read at a memorial service can be the cornerstone eulogy, set an uplifting tone and be included on the program or be used as part of the memorabilia.

Obituaries are a snapshot of accomplishments and provide an opportunity to document a person's life for posterity. When publishing an obituary with a memorial service notice, consider writing it like a press release. What is newsworthy? What do you want future generations to know and remember about this person? If necessary, hire or ask someone who has good writing skills to help.

According to Letitia Baldrige, author, New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to Etiquette, some things to include in an obituary:

  • Name and address of person
  • Date and place where he or she died
  • Cause of death
  • Name of spouse
  • City of birth
  • Name of his/her company or place of work and title
  • Education, including both earned and honorary degrees
  • Military service, if any
  • Major awards received
  • Titles of published works, films, plays or theaters where they may have performed
  • Names of survivors and their relationship to the honoree
  • Details of the funeral services and interment (omit if family would like to keep private)
  • Where contributions may be sent in the honoree's name
  • Memorial service information
- Include date & time
- If you would like guests to bring something, such as a photograph or written memory on an index card
- If you would like guests to wear a specific color or article of clothing
- if you would like the guests to participate in some way

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