How to Write an Obituary

During the arrangement conference with Pray’s, we will gather information to write an obituary.

What is an Obituary? 

An obituary serves as notification that an individual has passed away and details of the services that are to take place. More than merely a 'good-bye' to the deceased, this is a farewell which can, in chronological order, detail the life of the deceased. Many people view the obituary as a tribute to the person's life. The guidelines below may help you consider what to include when composing the obituary.

What to Include? 

The full name, along with the location and date of passing is included so that there is no confusion over whom has died. You may wish to consider placing a photograph with the text. If you wish, mention where the deceased resided.

In a concise manner, write about the significant events in the life of the deceased. This may include the schools he or she attended and any degrees attained; you may also include any vocations or interests that the deceased was involved with. Honors that the person received are often included to highlight their achievements.

Take time to recall the personality, the memories people shared, the difference made in the world.  The special role they played in the lives he or she touched makes an obituary more than just a death notice, but a special tribute to the person you loved so much.  This story is the first step in helping your family member live on in others.   The examples set forth in the story is often the first step of transformation in those who read those sacred lines.

Many families also include hobbies and interests of your family member.  Stories about the favorite hunting trip, or the family vacations from the past help share the pleasant memories that friends and family cherish. 


It is common to include a list of family members who survive the deceased. The list should include (where applicable):

  • Parents Spouse and children
  • Adopted children Half & step children
  • Siblings Half & step siblings
  • Grandparents

Other relatives are not usually mentioned by name but may be included in terms of their relationship to the deceased. A special friend or companion is not normally included amongst the list of survivors unless the deceased's blood relatives request that it be so. The obituary's traditional purpose is to list survivors either related through the bloodline or marriage.

Additional information such as visitation and funeral services and any memorial contributions are included at the close of an obituary.