After losing a loved one, it’s completely natural to feel daunted by the task of writing an obituary. In this blog, we will give you tools for how to write an obituary for your loved one from scratch.
If it helps, look at this as a unique opportunity to celebrate the life of your loved one. Their obituary can highlight the things they enjoyed doing, their unique qualities, and how they chose to spend their precious time on earth.
Below, we’ll go over four steps to write a beautiful obituary to honor your loved ones life, and we’ll follow up with some common questions about writing obituaries that can be helpful to keep in mind.
Step #1: Make a list of important information that you will need to include.
Compile the details about your family member into a quick outline before you start writing. Remember there is nothing that is required for you to include. Depending on the type of obituary you choose to write here are some suggested details to mention in an obituary:
- Your family member’s full name
- Their age
- Their date of birth and place of birth
- Their date of death and place of death
- Their surviving family members
- Any late family members
- The details for the wake, funeral, memorial, or celebration of life services
Optional extra details to mention in an obituary:
- Their career details and accomplishments
- Any religious affiliation
- Their primary accomplishments
- things they loved, such as hobbies or sports teams
- Any charities you would like people to donate to in their honor
- A poem, prayer, lyric, or quote
- A goodbye message to your loved one
Allowing other family members to contribute to the obituary often allows them to feel included. Also having someone to check for accuracy is important.
With all these facts in one place, writing the obituary will be much easier.
Step #2: Choose a photo for the obituary.
Your funeral director will be able to provide you with the requirements for an image in both the newspaper and their website. Usually, the image will be a close photo of your loved one’s face. Try to choose an image where you can see them clearly, and one that they would be happy with. Some choose to include a younger photo that old friends would recognize while others go with something more recent. Note that including a photo or a colored photo can cost more depending on the newspaper.
Step #3: Fill in the following template.
Please feel free to use the below template to create an obituary that will represent your loved one in a positive and affectionate light.
Consider that many newspapers charge per word. That means that you may consider keeping the obituary brief and just mentioning the most important details depending on your budget. Your funeral home will allow you to place a longer, more detailed obituary on their website that can include multiple photos.
Meaningful Obituary Template for a Loved One
|[Picture of your loved one’s face]|
|[Their full name]|
|[Date of birth – Date of death]|
|It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of [full name] of [home location]. S/he/they passed away on [date of death] at [location of death]. S/he/they was/were [age].
|S/he/they is/are survived by…
|S/he/they was/were preceded in death by…
|S/he/they worked for x years as a…
|S/he/they was/were known for…
|The funeral will be held…
|To send flowers or a memorial gift with the family…
In lieu of sending flowers, please consider donating to…
|A final message or goodbye…
|Consider linking to their online memorial…
Step #4: Proofread
When you compiled the information above, you should have already ensured its accuracy. But once you’ve completed the first draft, send out your family member’s obituary to the rest of the family and friends and get their opinion.
This will be important to the other people who your family member loved, and you want to ensure that no details or misspellings go unnoticed.
Now that you’ve completed your family member’s obituary, you can send it to the newspaper or website that you hope to publish it on. Additionally (and Return Home’s suggestion) you might send the obituary to the funeral home so that they will take care of ensuring that it’s published in the proper mediums.
|Maximilian Luscious Chester
July 9th, 1938 – September 6th, 2022
|Maximilian Luscious Chester of Pittsburgh, PA, passed away on Tuesday, September 6th, at Green Hills Hospital after a brave battle with lung cancer. He was 84.
Max was a caring and kind father to his three children, Isabella Chester Choi (Alex), Martin Chester (Ellie), and Junie Chester. He dearly loved his five grandchildren, Sean, Lexi, and Arthur Choi, Alanna Chester, and Hope Cooper. He will also be missed by his two best friends from childhood, Mick and Julian, who he still played cards with every Friday.
He was proceeded in death by his parents, Arthur and Mae Chester of Pittsburgh, his only brother Ernest Chester of Pittsburgh, and his beloved wife of 58 years, Esperanza Millousi Chester of New Jersey.
Max graduated from Schenley High School in 1956. He was a courageous firefighter with The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire for 40 years, retiring in 1998.
Max loved cycling and spending time outdoors. In his retirement, he spent much time birdwatching with the Burgh Birds, his birdwatching group with whom he often traveled.
Max was generous and attentive and always ready to lend an ear if you needed advice or someone to talk to. After his wife passed in 2018, he shared most of his time with his rescue pitbull, Louie. Nothing made him light up more than visits from his grandchildren, with whom he always shared a special bond.
Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Max’s life on Friday, September 9th at 11 am at the Miller and Mendelson Funeral Home, 675 Forest Hill Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213. A mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, September 10th at 9:30 am at the Our Virgin of Peace Church at 1000 19th St., Pittsburgh PA 15215.
Instead of sending flowers, the family requests that you consider donating to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.
Thank you for everything, dad. We will love you forever.
How to Write an Obituary for a Family Member: Key Takeaways
After losing a loved one, taking care of everything from the funeral plans to the obituary becomes overwhelming, and it’s completely normal for you to feel a bit stuck during your time of grief. To break down the task a little bit more, when wondering how to write an obituary, first, just compile the information you want included, then put it into a template, mentioning personal details about your family member, then you yourself or another trusted source should proofread the document.
We hope this article helps you better understant how to write an obituary, here at Return Home, we are committed to gently turning human remains into soil in a process known as Terramation. We believe in the importance of transparency, which is why we are the only facility that allows you to visit your loved one through the whole Terramation process. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about green burial and Terramation.