How to Write an Obituary

Need help with how to write an obituary? Most obituaries follow a pattern, as you will see below. But feel free to make it personal and interesting to readers. Then as you are writing the obituary, refer to our sample obituary page for more examples and ideas.

How to Write an Obituary

Examples of an obituary are shown below in italics.


First, obituaries usually list the date, location, and sometimes the cause of death. Or if you do not want your cause of death listed, please be certain to note this.

ALLCITY — John A. Smith, died July 2, 1997, after a short illness.

Biographical Information

This will tell a little about the person’s life.  It will include their career, education, honors, hobbies, etc.

Born August 4, 1936 in Taunton, MA he grew up and lived most of his life in Sherborn, MA. He moved to Allcity in August, 1995. In 1967, along with his brother Calvin, he founded a home mail order business baking and shipping gourmet sugar cookies. The family company took its name, Hillhaven Oak Farms, Inc., from their Sherborn home of many years. Local residents joined the busy family on the sugar cookie team every holiday season, as the house filled with shipping boxes and the sugar cookie aroma filled the neighborhood. Under the philosophy of “Build a little, Bake a lot”, the “Sugar Crispy” grew and developed a nationwide customer base of sugar cookie fans. The next generation of Smiths has now taken over, but John’s enthusiastic spirit continues.

The family tree.

Then list the spouse, children, grandchildren, in-laws, other close relatives you wish, and close friends.

Surviving are his son, John Smith, Jr. and wife, Nancy, of Allcity; daughter, Janice Smith Thomas and husband, George; and five grandchildren, Joseph Thomas, Matt Thomas, Lucy Thomas Medlin, Timothy Thomas and Tracey Thomas Kelty, all of Sherborn. 

Time and location of any viewings, memorial services, scatterings or inurnments;

Next your obituary should list any other gathering you may choose.

The memorial services will be held at 11:00 am, Friday, July 10th at Allcity Memorial Presbyterian Church with the Reverend Paul Jorday, officiating. Scheduled Ceremonies and Gatherings of Remembrance

Help ease the burden of phone calls to the family.

If possible, list a firm who can help give the day, the time, directions, or any other needed information for scheduled ceremonies and gatherings.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Allcity, Inc., 123 Main Street, Anywhere, USA 12345.

Contributions or Flowers

Finally, some families request that contributions be made to a meaningful organization instead of sending flowers.

Arrangements are by Allcity Cremation Provider. 

A funeral was held Wednesday in Edward L. Raisley Funeral Home in Prospect. Interment was in Unionville Cemetery.

View our obituary examples.  They will also show you how to write an obituary.

Do you need a poem or song for the celebration of life? If so, we have a large selection of funeral poems, sayings, and verses plus lots of memorial songs with their lyrics.

Ideas you can use to create a memorable Celebration of Life: (click on photo for more info)

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