How to write a great obituary

The passing of a loved one and acknowledging that loss is a difficult part of the grieving process. Some find comfort from being able to write about the joy that the individual brought them and find some peace and closure in this act. Like writing a speech for a wedding or a greeting card for a friend's birthday, we’re often not sure where or how to start. It can also be helpful to chat with other friends and family members to ensure information is accurate such as dates, times, locations and spelling. We’ve put together the most important steps to keep in mind when writing an obituary.

  • Biographical/factual Information
    Name, birth year or age, location of birth and death, marriage/children, accomplishments and workplace are all important factors to include, and some may choose to state the general cause of death — but this isn’t always necessary.
  • Personal Touches
    Obituaries are a nice spot to note passions and interests. Factual information is necessary and may be all that you can afford to include, however including personal details or a photo if possible is always a nice added touch. Don’t be afraid to add humour or eclectic touches if it makes sense and is appropriate in further showcasing the deceased personality.
  • Listing family members
    While you want to keep this part brief as it is not necessary to note every relative, it is important to list close family members names while more distant relatives can be listed more generally, by relation.
  • Details of the funeral
    Reception or visitation. It is important to include both the name and address to make it as clear as possible for people. Many people often include the website and phone number for the service location as well. List any information regarding charity donations or treat this as an opportunity to thank members of the hospital or nursing staff or other important people who may have been involved near the end.

Our biggest tip for writing an obituary is not to rush! Always make sure that you fact and spell check. We find that reading out loud is a great way to catch any errors. Have 1-2 people edit and review to ensure that everything is accurate before sending off to be printed or posted. Comparing to others is also a great way to be sure you haven’t missed anything. There are multiple spots that an obituary can be posted, when choosing make sure that you check length specifications and formatting before beginning if choosing to publish on a public page as opposed to personal where length and formatting doesn’t matter as much.

Other things to note:
Posting the date of birth may result in identity theft so it is best to state age only, not date of birth which was traditionally a factual piece of information many included. We also recommend not adding the residents current address so as not to advertise an empty home — you can never be too safe!

P.S. We’d love to chat with you! Please give us a call.