How do you Write an Obituary ?

Writing an obituary can be an emotional task. First, gather information from family and friends of the deceased about their childhood, education, career, hobbies, and interests. Don't forget the date, time, and location of a funeral service or memorial event.  Using a template can help make the process easier and will ensure you write a properly structured obituary.

Sample Obituaries:

Obituary Templates:

{Title or Position} {Name} “{Nickname}” {Last Name} (née {Maiden Name}) died {unexpectedly/peacefully} at {location} on {date} in {City, State} at the age of {age}.

{Name} is survived by {his/her} {relatives, Names}, of {Locations}. {He/she} is preceded in death by {relatives, Names}, of {Locations}.

{Name} was born on {date} in {City, State} to {Names}. {He/she} graduated from {School} in {year} with a degree in {field}. {He/she} married {Name}, {his/her} {high school sweetheart/a mechanical engineer/etc.} in {year}. After moving to {Location}, {Name} began working for {Company}. {Other significant jobs/accomplishments/life events}.

A funeral is scheduled for {time and date} at {location}, with a reception to follow. {Title} {Name} will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate {Name}’s life. Flowers and condolences may be sent to {address}.


Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation, but it need not be. Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with your grief. Being chosen to give a eulogy is an honor and should be treated that way. Here are some tips for writing and delivering an eloquent and memorable eulogy:

  • GATHER INFORMATION.  Talk with family members, close friends, and co-workers to get important information on the deceased such as their closest relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or travelled to, and any special accomplishments they had.

  • ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS.  Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you.  Create an outline of your speech, and fill in the information that you gathered about the person as you go.

  • WRITE IT DOWN.  This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks, and you should not adlib a eulogy.  Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every important detail.  Bring a copy with you: print it out in a large font, or if it hand-written leave a few spaces between the lines.  Also, keep in mind time constraints. It’s best to keep things on the short side.

  • REVIEW AND REVISE.  Your first draft will not be the last.  When you think you are done, sleep on it and look it over in the morning when it is fresh again. 

  • PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.  Read over your eulogy several times in order to become familiar with it.  Practice in front of a mirror, read it over to some friends or family and have them give you feedback.  Become familiar with your speech so you can recite it without making it look like you’re reading from a script.  The more you practice the more comfortable you will be. 

  • MAKE THEM LAUGH, BUT KEEP IT RESPECTFUL.  A funeral is not a roast, however there is room for humor in your eulogy.  Fondly remember a story about the person that everyone can relate too.  Keep it appropriate, as there will be children and the elderly there.  Laughter is truly the best medicine, and some well placed humor will help people cope, and will bring back fond memories of the deceased.

  • DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHOW EMOTION.  Funerals are an extremely emotional event. Nobody expects you not to shed a few tears.  However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place where someone you trust can deliver the eulogy for you.  Give them a copy well in advance if you feel this could be an issue.