Preparing to write an obituary is a sobering task, which can’t really be done effectively until after the person’s passing. It’s a way you can pay tribute to someone, and it also provides a record of a person’s life for loved ones and the general public.
In this article, we’re going to go over some things you should know before you write an obituary: getting started, who is grieving, what kind of detail should be shared about someone’s life or death, how it will appear, etc. We’ve also included obituary samples to use for guidance in creating obituaries for your beloved family members.
Before we look at obituary examples, let’s learn more about what an obituary is and what is typically included in one.
What Is an Obituary?
An obituary is a short piece about the life of the deceased person, usually published in newspapers and online after someone has died. It provides information about who that person was and their death. Sometimes it will mention where they lived and worked as well as any special milestones they may have achieved. It may also include a photo. The way newspapers choose to incorporate pictures is different from online platforms, but it’s generally expected to be at least a close-up of the deceased’s face.
An obituary is typically written by the family of the deceased and will contain information about how somebody died, their age, what they did for a living, where they were from, who their survivors are, etc.
Sample Obituary Format
When you search obituaries, you’ll find they typically include some or all of the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Cause of death (if desired)
- Educational history
- Professional history
- Personal relationships (spouses, children, etc.)
- List of surviving family members
- List of predeceased family members
- Event information
You may want to include your own personal touches to make the obituary unique, so that people will remember this person as being much more than just another statistic.
Who Prepares the Obituary?
A lot of times, the family will write the obituary. Other times, newspaper staff or professional writers are assigned to write it. You can also hire someone to help you or do it for you. It’s all up to you and what you want, but some things need to be completed before publishing an obituary.
Now that you know what an obituary is, what they normally include, and who usually writes them, let’s look at an example obituary or two.
Obituary Examples to Honor Your Loved Ones
While there are numerous examples of obituaries online, including sample obituary templates, these two obituary examples can give you some insight into creating an obituary that speaks of the life of your loved one. Keep in mind, it’s perfectly okay to deviate from these obituary examples as they are just that – examples.
Obituary Example for a Father
David Johnson was a caring and devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, and friend. He passed away unexpectedly on July 1, 2021. He was 71 years old.
On March 4, 1950, David was born to Mark and Marie Johnson in Little Rock, Arkansas. He spent his childhood surrounded by four rambunctious but adoring brothers and sisters. They loved hunting and fishing and would spend endless hours catching fish and setting game traps.
After graduating from high school, David joined the United States Army. He proudly served his country for 20 years, eventually retiring from service and becoming an independent contractor for the government.
David often joked that the Army was the perfect matchmaker. This is because his first deployment sent him to Italy, where he met and fell in love with his wife, Annette.
David and Annette often moved during his years in the Army. However, every place they went became home.
Adding to the feeling of home was their growing family. Over the years, they welcomed five children: Luke, Nicholas, Annabelle, Rosemarie, and Walter. In time, David became a grandfather to 12 grandchildren. This, he said, was his most treasured role. He never failed to make his grandchildren laugh and smile. They will miss his sense of humor most of all.
A funeral service is scheduled for July 8, 2021, at the First Baptist Church at the corner of 8th and Olive Street. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the local Veterans of Foreign Affairs chapter.
Obituary Example for a Mother
Jane Smith was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend. She departed this life and gained her angel wings on November 1, 2021. She was 81 years old.
She was born on March 13, 1940, to John and Sally Smith. Her childhood was spent in Springfield, MO, where she spent most of her time on the family farm. There, she fell in love with tending to animals and soon found her dream was to be a veterinarian. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Missouri, eventually obtaining her veterinary degree. During her college years, she met and married her husband John, a fellow veterinarian.
They settled down in Columbia, MO, opening a veterinary practice named “Caring Paws.” Soon after doing so, they started a family. Their children – Jack, Anna, and Susan – were the light of her life. She adored being a “hands-on” mom and made sure she never missed a basketball game or dance recital.
In addition to her love for her husband, children, and animals of all kinds, Jane loved to bake. In fact, her chocolate chip cookies were legendary! She also loved to sew, creating treasured quilts for family and friends.
A funeral service is scheduled for November 7, 2021, at the First Baptist Church at the corner of 5th and Main Street. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the local animal shelters on her behalf.
Are You Trying to Find an Obituary to Use as an Example?
As you can see from these examples, obituaries can include a variety of information. The key is to create an obituary that encompasses the unique life of the recently deceased. So, while an obituary sample can be helpful, writing an obituary from the heart matters the most.
If you need help finding an obituary to use as an example, GenealogyBank can help. We have over 260 million obituaries in our archive. Our obituary archive is the largest in the world. Perform an obituary search today to find a good example for the obituary you’re writing for a loved one recently deceased – or start uncovering long-lost information about your ancestors.