Enter your keyword

What Do I Write in an Obituary

What Do I Write in an Obituary

Before you start you need to know what to write in an obituary and what is allowed by the newspaper. Obituaries are restricted in length and some newspapers don’t publish them at all. Knowing all of this before you start will make your newspaper obituary writing go much smoother.

26.3% New
Aesthetic funeral template
Main Aesthetic funeral template

Aesthetic Funeral Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Main Afterglow Funeral Program Template
Front Afterglow Funeral Program Template
Rated 5 out of 5

Afterglow Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2%
blank-funeral-program-template
blank-funeral-program-template
Rated 5 out of 5

Blank Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Bloom funeral program template
Bloom-2nd-Card
Rated 5 out of 5

Bloom Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Main Blue Flower Funeral Program Template
Front Blue Flower Funeral Program Template
Rated 5 out of 5

Blue Flower Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Main Blue Sky Funeral Program Template
Front Blue Sky Funeral Program Template
Rated 5 out of 5

Blue Sky Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
funeral program at home
Brown Funeral Program
Rated 5 out of 5

Brown View Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
How to Write a Funeral Poem
Cloud cover funeral program template mock
Rated 5 out of 5

Cloud Cover Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Cloud Land Funeral Program
Cloud Land Funeral Program Template

Cloud Land Funeral Program

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
comfort funeral template
Front Comfort Funeral Program
Rated 5 out of 5

Comfort Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Comforter Funeral Program Template
Comforter Funeral Program Template
Rated 5 out of 5

Comforter Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print
28.2% New
Funeral Prayers
comfort 3
Rated 5 out of 5

Comforting Funeral Program Template

Free Edit Online & Print
 
Get Printable PDF - Self Print

What is an Obituary?

An obituary is a notice that announces the death of someone with a description of the person’s life and list of family members. The obituary is often written by the funeral home or mortuary, but many people choose to write an obituary for their loved one that is published in the newspaper and included in the funeral program.

Free Obituary Listings and Paid Obituary Listings

Some newspapers limited their space to only a few obituaries of notable or famous people. Sometimes, there are fees involved depending on the length of the obituary. Many newspapers have an online edition in which they publish all the obituaries for free. Usually people can access these obituaries online for free, but in some cases a membership or subscription fee applies.

As a general rule, major national newspapers have their own staff write and publish newsworthy obituaries for free. They charge a hefty fee to publish non-newsworthy obituaries and they are only online for a short time. Smaller, local papers will often publish obituaries for free or for a small fee. The obituaries remain online or in the archives so people can access them and read them for years to come. A feature that is helpful for people doing genealogy research.

Publishing an Obituary

There are several newspapers that will publish a lengthy obituary for free, but it is best to contact them before you start to write. Be sure you will be able to publish the entire obituary before you write; it will save you time and money in the end. The average length of an obituary is about 200 words but it can be as long as 450 words or as few as 50 words.

Contact the classified advertising department of your local newspaper to publish an obituary and ask them these questions:

  • Will they will publish your loved one’s obituary in the newspaper and/or online?
  • How long can the obituary be?
  • What is the cost?

What do I write in an Obituary?

Once you’ve determined who will write the obituary, you or the funeral home and how long the obituary can be, it is time to start gathering your information about the deceased. To help you with this task, you can find free downloadable forms online. An obituary will contain the following information about the deceased:

  • Full name of the deceased
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of death
  • Surviving Family
  • Date, time and address of funeral
  • Date, time and address of memorial service
  • Date, time and address of burial service
  • Address of cemetery or mausoleum
  • Officiating Clergy
  • Memorial contributions to be made in lieu of flowers to:
  • Photo

Surviving Family

Depending on space allowed in the newspaper obituaries section, Surviving Family may include:

  • Spouse’s name
  • Children’s names and the cities where they reside
  • Grandchildren and the cities where they reside
  • Parents and the cities where they reside
  • Siblings and the cities where they reside
  • Significant friends, relatives and partners and the cities where they reside

Additional Information

You might wish to include the following information if you have space and the details are appropriate, but is not necessary:

  • Cause of Death
  • Education
  • Religious Affiliations
  • Professional Memberships
  • Participation in local or national organizations
  • Military Service
  • Occupation and employment history
  • Accomplishments, achievements, awards
  • Publications either written about or by the deceased
  • Hobbies or Activities
  • Acts of humanitarianism
Write in an Obituary




funeral program template