A Celebration of Life Through Words; How to Write an Obituary.


An obituary is more than just an announcement in the newspaper.

It’s the story and celebration of a person’s life, it’s a record of family history and it’s a notification of where and how respects can be paid. Take a look through the newspaper’s obituary section; notice the individuals that steal your attention. The notices that capture your interest will be the ones that focus on the individual, telling their story from the first sentence to the final phrase.

Understandably, this can feel like an overwhelming task to even begin writing an obituary. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you get started and guide you along through the process.

Talk about the individual.

Tell the world who they were. Mentioning family relations is important for maintaining a record of the family tree, but it should not be the focus of an obituary. Think about their favourite things, what were their hobbies? Describe their passions in life, the moments that made their life light up, what did they love? Mention their quirks that made them endearing to their family and friends.

Imagine sitting and having a conversation with this person; what would they talk about? Can you remember the things that would bring a smile to their face? These are the things that made them who they were and should be celebrated.

Show; don’t tell.

Stating that someone was “charitable, kind and loves animals,” may describe an individual but it doesn’t reflect an individual’s life in the same way as describing that they spent twenty hours a week volunteering at the local humane society and frequently took in stray animals to foster. Actions always speak louder than words, so it’s impor