How To Write An Obituary

A simple checklist for making sure your obituary honors and informs.

When a loved one has passed away, writing an obituary that honors their life can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry - your obituary will honor their life simply by the act of you writing it. You want to celebrate your loved one’s life and offer happy or enjoyable memories. You are helping to ease the pain of others simply by telling a story about your loved one.

We hope a detailed description will take the stress and pressure off of you and allow you to honor your loved one simply. Remember, your funeral arranger is an experienced professional, and he/she is a valuable resource for writing the obituary.

                  Writing a Meaningful Obituary

At a minimum, an obituary informs people that a death has occurred and of the

details concerning the funeral, memorial and/or graveside service arrangements.

At its best, however, an obituary may also provide a meaningful summary of a person's life and legacy.

  •  Start with where the deceased lived at the time of his or her death, full name of the

deceased, his or her age at the time of death, date of death and location. If you wish, you

can include the cause of death. You would also want to include his or her date and place

of birth, and parents’ names.

  • Provide a summary (may be brief) of the deceased's life, starting from birth and

working forward. You don't need to include every detail; just the key facts/information

that helps the obituary reader learn more about the deceased and/or helps the reader

determine if he or she has a personal connection to the person who died. Items you may

want to include: educational accomplishments, military service, marriages, residential history, work 

history, affiliations with church, memberships in clubs and organizations.

  • List the details of the funeral or memorial service and reception, if applicable. Include

W.E. Pegues Funeral Directors as the funeral provider handling the details and where the

burial/interment will take place, if applicable.

  • List surviving relatives. Don't forget to include spouse, children, grandchildren,

great-grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, in-laws and step-family

members. Decide which ones you will include by name and those whom you will include

by relation only. In general, obituaries usually include the full names of the deceased's

parents, siblings, and children, as well as his or her spouse/partner, but only the total

number of grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Many choose to include where each

surviving family member resides.

  • List deceased relatives.
  • List active pallbearers and honorary pallbearers.
  • List the charities or memorial fund to which you want donations sent in memory of the

deceased in lieu of flowers. May be worded as "Memorials may be made to" or "In lieu of flowers".