An obituary is a common way of announcing the death of a loved one, including the details of their memorial service, usually online or in a local newspaper. For the purpose of this article, the obituary will form part of a funeral program that will be given to friends and family at the memorial or celebration of life service. For that reason, details like the location and content of the service can be included on another page of the program.
It can be hard to know how to start writing an obituary for a loved one, so begin by asking yourself, what are the first words that come to mind when you think of the person. Ask friends and family for help with this by sharing with you some memorable stories about your loved one’s life, including funny or unusual events that highlight their character and what sort of life they lived. You can also include details about significant life events in the obituary, such as education, marriage, children, employment, military service, charity work, religious or political activities and awards.
For more inspiration, consider answering these questions about your loved one:
- What was the one thing you loved most about them?
- What did people often say about their personality?
- What were their proudest achievements?
- What hobbies or interests did they have?
- What special mannerisms or unusual character traits did they have that made them uniquely wonderful?
Deciding on how serious or light-hearted the obituary should be is a personal decision and depends on what you consider to be most appropriate for the person and situation. Use your own judgement but keep in mind how you think your loved one would want to be remembered.
As well as stories about their life, an obituary for a funeral program can also include key facts about your loved one such as their name, place of birth, age, date of death, location and, if appropriate, cause of death. It’s also common to provide the names and relationships of surviving and predeceased family members. For example,
“David was preceded in death by his father, John, and his mother, Sarah. He is survived by his wife Rachel, his four children, Mike, Luke, Alice, and Rebecca, his brother Simon, and several cousins, nephews, and a niece.”
A good way to finish the obituary would be to add a personal prayer, a favourite poem or special phrase your loved one always used to say. Practical details about the memorial service, like where to send flowers or donations, can either be included below the obituary or on a separate page of the program. If you have a long obituary or need more space for extra service information or photos, using a 12-page funeral program template or larger 11x17 inch program is a good idea.
Before printing your funeral program at home or a local print shop, it’s a good idea to check the spelling of all the names you’ve included and ask at least one other person to proofread your obituary for mistakes or missing information.
Our Obituary Example:
Daniel was a kind and caring man, who gave the best hugs and always had time for people. He would welcome you in, put the kettle on and just sit and listen. You always felt loved after spending time with Daniel.
Daniel passed away peacefully at his home on June 28th, 2021 at the age of 87. He was Born on May 20th, 1934 to Mary & Edward Jones and was Mary’s little ‘Solider’. He was a fun-loving child who enjoyed playing with his best friend and brother John and the two of them were inseparable. Daniel grew up in Minnesota where his parents owned a flour mill and after graduating from UMN he taught math at the local High School. He was a Christian and always went to church on Sundays where he welcomed people at the door with the firmest handshake and the biggest smile.
In 1960 Daniel met and fell in love with Janet and they were married in St. John’s Church. Daniel and Janet had two beautiful daughters Felicity Fields and Kate Andrews. Daniel took pride in his family and was a loving family man, always making time for his wife and girls. Daniel loved the water and won several medals sailing at a professional level. He supported the local football team and was a long serving volunteer at his neighbourhood soup kitchen.
Daniel was preceded in death by his father, Edward, and his mother, Mary and is survived by his wife Janet, his daughters Felicity and Kate, his brother John, several cousins, nephews, and great-grandchildren Lois and Barney. He will be greatly missed but the love he shared will continue to live on in our memories forever and as he often said, "there’s a rainbow to every storm".