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Helpful Tips for Writing an Obituary October 14, 2020

When a loved one passes, you want to make sure that they are properly honored. While there will be an opportunity to celebrate them at the funeral service, you also want to feel like you accurately portrayed them in the obituary. Though it’s typically a small amount of writing, there is still ample opportunity to paint a portrait of your loved one. Here’s a look at five basic tips for writing an obituary.


Before you start drafting the obituary, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve correctly identified important dates in your loved one’s life, such as birthday, wedding day, and dates of employment or military service.

Start with Death Announcement

Typically, the obituary will begin with the date and location of the death. It’s up to you if you want to include the cause of death. While readers may be curious, they don’t necessarily have a right to know. In some cases, this is a sensitive matter and it’s entirely okay if you’d prefer to not include the cause of death.

Include Story/Build Character

The most memorable obituaries include interesting tidbits about the person’s life, often pertaining to hobbies or vacations. If your loved one was a true character, it’s encouraged to let this show in the obituary. While the death might be difficult, it can actually feel comforting to include a humorous story or anecdote.

Make Sure All Relevant Family Is Included

When listing family members, you typically start with the spouse. From there, you may include children and grandchildren. Siblings are also commonly included. If you have a large family, you may choose to simply list grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) as “numerous.” Also, make sure that everyone’s name is spelled correctly.

Funeral Details

In the final portion of the obituary, you’ll want to provide clear information about the date and time of the service, and if the public is welcome to attend. In this closing section, you may also include any info about charitable contributions.

A funeral director can give you more advice on what to include in an obituary, as well as detailed guidance about planning a service. If you need assistance with planning a service, be sure to contact a reputable funeral director. For a funeral director in Everett, Marysville, Tulalip, Stanwood, Monroe, Sultan, Lynwood, Mukilteo, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, and Arlington, WA, the trusted name is Funeral Alternatives of Snohomish County at 1-888-381-6993. Funeral Alternatives also provides funeral services in Seattle, Bellevue, and King County. Feel free to contact Funeral Alternatives to ask any questions that you have about how to plan a memorable service.