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5 Tips for Writing a Meaningful Obituary July 10, 2024

Writing an obituary is a deeply personal task that requires thoughtfulness and care. It serves as a tribute to the deceased, providing a short summary of their life and legacy. Here’s a look at five tips for writing a meaningful obituary.

Start with Essential Information

An obituary generally begins with basic but essential information about the deceased. This includes their full name, age, date of birth, and date of death. You may also want to mention where they were born and where they passed away. This section sets the foundation for the obituary, giving readers a clear understanding of whom it is about.

Highlight Major Life Events and Achievements

The heart of an obituary lies in recounting the significant events and accomplishments of the deceased’s life. Highlights may include their education, career, and any notable achievements. You could mention awards, recognitions, or contributions to their community. Reflect on their passions, hobbies, and interests that defined them as a person. By painting a vivid picture of their life, you provide readers with a sense of who they were and what they stood for.

Share Personal Stories and Memories

Adding personal anecdotes and memories brings an obituary to life. These stories can be touching or humorous, offering a glimpse into the personality of the deceased. Talk to family members and friends to gather different perspectives and memorable moments. This helps to honor the deceased while providing connection to those who knew them.

Mention Surviving Family Members

Including the names of close surviving family members is a common practice in obituaries. This typically includes spouses, children, and siblings. If there are many grandchildren, you may simply list the number. You may also want to mention predeceased family members. This is a way to honor both the deceased and their family.

End with a Thoughtful Closing

The closing of an obituary should offer a final tribute to the deceased. This could be a favorite quote, a meaningful phrase, or a brief reflection on their impact on the world and those around them. You might also include information about charitable donations in lieu of flowers, or any other final wishes the family wants to convey. Toward the conclusion, it’s also common to list information about the funeral or memorial service, including date, time, and location.

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