How Are Obituaries Written

How Obituaries Are Written

How obituaries are written taught  Step-by-step process, gathering information, capturing the essence, accuracy, tone, sensitivity, relevant details, privacy, condolences, and publishing. An obituary is a notice or announcement that is published in a newspaper or online to inform the public about someone’s death. It is a summary of the person’s life, highlighting their accomplishments, important events, and significant relationships. Obituaries often include details such as the person’s name, age, date and place of birth, date, and place of death, cause of death (if known and if the family wishes to disclose it), and information about the funeral or memorial service. They may also include a brief biography, information about surviving family members, and expressions of condolences or tributes from friends and loved ones. Obituaries serve as a way to commemorate and remember the deceased and provide an opportunity for people to express their condolences and share memories.

Why Obituaries?

The obituaries play a crucial role in a funeral program as it serves multiple important purposes. Here are some reasons why the obituary is significant:

  • Informing the Community: The obituary provides a formal announcement of the person’s passing, ensuring that friends, acquaintances, and the wider community are aware of the funeral arrangements. It acts as a public notice to invite people to pay their respects and attend the funeral or memorial service.
  • Commemorating the Deceased: The obituary serves as a tribute to the life of the deceased. It allows family members and loved ones to share the person’s accomplishments, qualities, and significant events, ensuring that their memory is honored and remembered. It provides an opportunity to celebrate their life and the impact they had on others.
  • Sharing Information: The obituary includes practical details about the funeral or memorial service, such as the date, time, and location. This information is essential for those who wish to attend and pay their final respects. It also helps in coordinating logistics and ensuring that mourners can participate in the appropriate ceremonies.
  • Expressing Condolences: The obituary offers a platform for family and friends to express their condolences and share their memories. It provides a space for individuals to offer support, share personal stories, and convey their sympathy to the grieving family.

How Obituaries Are Written?

Obituaries are written in a step-wise manner. Here is a step-by-step explanation of how obituaries are often written:

STEP 1: Gathering Information

Start by gathering all the necessary information about the deceased. This includes their full name, age, date, and place of birth, date and place of death, and any other relevant details such as marital status, educational background, and career achievements. You may also want to gather information about surviving family members and their relationships.

STEP 2: Decide on the Tone and Length

 Determine the tone and length of the obituary based on the preferences of the family or the guidelines of the publication where it will be published. Some obituaries are brief and formal, while others are longer and more personal.

STEP 3: Write an Introduction: 

Begin the obituary with an introductory sentence or paragraph that states the person’s name, age, and place of residence at the time of their death. This sets the context and informs readers about the purpose of the obituary.

STEP 4: Highlight Key Accomplishments and Events

 Provide a summary of the person’s life, emphasizing their significant achievements, contributions, and milestones. Include information about their education, career, community involvement, and any awards or honors received.

STEP 5: Personal Details and Relationships

 Include information about the person’s personal life, such as their marriage, children, grandchildren, and other important relationships. Mention the names of surviving family members and their respective relationships to the deceased.

STEP 6: Include Funeral/Memorial Service Information

 Provide details about the funeral or memorial service, such as the date, time, and location. Mention whether it is open to the public or restricted to family and close friends. Alternatively, you can suggest donations to a specific charity or organization in lieu of flowers.

STEP 7: Share Personal Qualities and Interests

 Capture the personality, interests, and hobbies of the deceased. Highlight their unique qualities, passions, and the things they enjoyed in life. This helps paint a fuller picture of the person and their individuality.

STEP 8: Express Condolences and Tributes

 Reserve a section for condolences and tributes from family members, friends, and other loved ones. Include quotes, anecdotes, or messages of remembrance that offer personal perspectives and honor the person’s memory.

STEP 9: Review and Edit

 Review the obituary for accuracy, clarity, and tone. Edit any errors or awkward phrasing. It’s essential to ensure that the obituary is a respectful and accurate representation of the deceased’s life.

STEP 10: Seek Family Approval

 Share the draft with the family for their review and approval. Respect their wishes and make any necessary adjustments or additions based on their feedback.

Responsibilities Of Writing Obituary 

The responsibility of writing an obituary falls upon the family members or close friends of the deceased. They are the ones who possess intimate knowledge of the person’s life, relationships, and significant events. However, in some cases, professional obituary writers or funeral directors can also be hired to assist with writing the obituary. These professionals have experience in crafting obituaries that effectively capture the essence of a person’s life. Additionally, newspapers or online publications may have staff members who specialize in writing obituaries. Ultimately, the decision of who writes the obituary depends on the wishes and capabilities of the family, with the aim of creating a meaningful tribute that accurately reflects the life and legacy of the deceased.

Guidelines for Writing Perfect Obituary 

Here are a few important guidelines to consider when writing obituaries:

  • Accuracy: Ensure that all the information provided in the obituary is accurate, including the person’s name, age, date and place of birth, date, and place of death, and other significant details. Double-check the facts and verify any information before publishing.
  • Tone and Style: Choose an appropriate tone and style that reflects the personality and life of the deceased. The obituary can be formal, informal, or a combination of both, depending on the preferences of the family and the nature of the individual’s life.
  • Focus on the Deceased: The obituary should primarily focus on the deceased person, their life, accomplishments, and relationships. Avoid including excessive details or unrelated information.
  • Respectfulness and Sensitivity: Show respect and sensitivity in the language used, ensuring that the obituary does not offend or cause distress to the family or readers. Use compassionate and thoughtful words while conveying the news of the passing.
  • Inclusion of Relevant Details: Include relevant details about the person’s life, such as their education, career, hobbies, interests, and community involvement. Mention significant achievements, awards, or honors received, if applicable.
  • Consider Privacy and Wishes: Respect the privacy and wishes of the family when writing the obituary. Check with them regarding the information they want to be included or excluded. Some families may prefer to keep certain details private or request specific wording.
  • Proofread and Edit: Review the obituary for any grammatical errors, typos, or inconsistencies. Pay attention to the flow and clarity of the writing. Ensure that the obituary effectively communicates the desired information and accurately reflects the life and legacy of the deceased.

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