Provide the basics

Make it Personal

Provide Important Information

Understanding how to write an obituary is difficult and can feel daunting to summarize the life of one who has recently passed. These five steps serve as a simple guide to writing a traditionally formatted obituary that is fitting and memorable. It will also give you ideas so that you can make your statement special and unique to your loved one.

Obituary Basics

State the deceased’s full name, age, where she lived and when she passed. It’s not necessary to mention cause, but you can note that it was quietly in her sleep, or in the comfort of her home, in the company of loved ones, if you feel inclined.

Highlight important details of the deceased’s life. This can include his date and place of birth, where he grew up, and what school he attended. Give some additional biographical information, such as marriage, other places he lived, community in which he was involved, and other notable accomplishments.

Make it Personal

You’re writing a short biography that’s meant to convey not only the surface details, but also the special bond that this person shared with her family and friends. Those who are reading are sharing their sympathy. You can mention her witty sense of humor, illustrious artistic talent, or her selfless generosity. What did your loved one take pride in? Feel free to briefly share memories and the special qualities that you’ll miss the most.

Mention family members who have passed on and those who will read the obituary. You can say, he is preceded in death by his parents, and, he is survived by his wife. Tell readers their relationships to the deceased, followed by their names.

Provide Important Information

An obituary is a public notice and serves as a good place to disclose funeral arrangements. Let others know where and when the various end-of-life services will be held. Friends and relatives may wish to send flowers. You can state whether you prefer flowers or donations to help with funeral costs or a specific organization.

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Try using our Obituary Assistance for free.

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Example Obituary

Jon Francis Kennedy, 92, of San Francisco, passed peacefully Thursday, October 1, 2015.

He was born to the late Richard and Nina Kennedy, March 23, 1923, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Jon graduated from Rio Mesa High School in 1940 and received a BS in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame in 1944. He married the late Ramona Lopez in 1945, and they lived together in Oxnard, California before relocating to San Francisco in 1952.

Jon was an elementary school principal until he retired in 1980 and was passionate about affecting the most positive change in his students. He founded the Organic Health Response non-profit program for HIV infected children in 1972 and was honored with the Principal of the Year award in 1960 and 1965.

Jon was an active member of South Coast Fellowship Church, and the Notre Dame Club of San Francisco. He loved to travel, and took pride in his culinary skills.

Jon is survived by three children: Isaac Kennedy, of New York City; Katie Collins, of Philadelphia; and Maya Supriya, of Seattle. He also is survived by seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Jon’s non-profit, Organic Health Response.

Time of Viewing:

7 p.m. on Friday, October 1 at Duggan’s Funeral Home.

Time of Burial:

1 p.m. on Saturday, October 2 at San Francisco Cemetery.