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Tips on How to Write an Obituary

Published: April 22, 2019

Losing a loved one is a difficult process to go through, but taking the time to craft an obituary can be the beginning step to help honour their life and begin the healing process.

Most obituaries will follow a similar structure

There is a formula most often used in obituaries that is able to convey the necessary information of our loved one, while still making it a little personal.

  • Announce the name, time and date in the first sentence.
    • Try to stay away from blunt phrases like “died”, and instead use softer, warmer phrases like “passed away” or “departed”
  • Include a short summary of their life
    • Using as few words as possible, list things like:
      • Where they were born
      • Their parents
      • An important life event
  • A concise paragraph about hobbies, passions or their best attribute
  • List the closest family members
  • Finish with the announcement of the service time and location
    • If the event is private, there’s no need to mention it in the obituary


When listing survivors

There are many variations in wording when listing survivors, such as “devoted husband/wife of”, “beloved father/mother of” and linking to siblings and grandchildren with “he/she is remembered with love by”.


In the event of a divorce in the family

Divorce can be an incredibly difficult subject to handle when writing an obituary. Often, if the deceased has a child from a first marriage, the obituary will mention that they are survived by that child, though forgoing to mention their first spouse.

However, this may not be the case for all obituaries.

Non-biological parents and adoptive parents

Many are raised by non-biological parents, and unless the relationship was disagreeable, stepparents and adoptive parents belong in an obituary just as much as a biological parent.

Including in the obituary that the deceased was adopted can be an important part of their life story, as long as it’s public knowledge.

Step-parents can enter someone’s life at any time. Including them in the obituary and listing their relationship is important. If the deceased was raised from a young age by the stepparent, highlight it. If the deceased’s stepparent came into their life as an adult, simply state the narrower relationship.


Don’t include social media

An obituary is not the place to link to anyone’s social media. Obituaries are public, and unwanted attention can come from unknown people reading through the obituaries.

An obituary is the beginning of the healing process. Susan LeClair of LeClair Cremation Centre is always willing to help with each step of the way.

565 King Street | Midland, ON L4R 3N6 | Tel: 1-705-527-8955 | Fax: 1-800-435-1538


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