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If writing an obituary feels like a daunting task after the death of a loved one, there are plenty of tips and examples to help guide you.

Obituary Format

Each newspaper may have its own standard format for publishing death notices. To find out what your local newspaper’s preferences are, look at other obituaries, as well as online obituaries, and take note of similarities. Follow the same format to be sure that the newspaper staff won’t have to do major edits on your writing before the obituary can be published.

Obituary Templates

While every newspaper may be slightly different, the general format for an obituary will be the same, and obituary examples can be helpful. The following is a template of what a basic obituary will look like.   Full name of the deceased and nickname, if relevant, age, of town of residence passed away date of death.   He/She was born in name of the hometown on date of birth to parents names of both parents. He/She graduated from name of high school and received a degree in name of college degree from name of college. He/She married name of spouse on date of wedding.   Include any accomplishments, hobbies, and awards in this paragraph. (This paragraph is completely optional and might not be included if there is limited space available in the newspaper.)   Name of deceased is survived by names of family members.   A viewing will be held at name of funeral home. The funeral will be held at name of the funeral home or church. Include any additional information about arrangements in this paragraph.

Sample Obituary

AnnMarie (Annie) Watson, 67, of St. Louis passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.   She was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on May 20, 1946, to the late Patricia and Robert Fuller. Annie graduated from Mount Union High School and received a bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri State University in 1967. She married the late John Watson the following year, on July 16, 1968.   Annie was a beloved member of the community and could frequently be found leading programs for children at the local library. An advocate for children’s literacy, she helped found the St. Louis Early Literacy Foundation in 1997.   Annie is survived by three children; Jennifer Collins, of St. Louis; Kate Watson, of St. Charles, MO; and Daniel Watson, of Portland, OR. She is also survived by four grandchildren.   A viewing will be held at Shuman’s Funeral home at 7 p.m. on Friday. The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the burial immediately following.

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