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Writing Obituaries

Writing obituaries can be a very challenging thing to do. Most likely, the reason you are writing an obituary is because you have recently lost a loved one. And, it’s at that time of loss that our heads and hearts are usually going through so many different emotions. It can be hard to think of what to say. At Mountain View Funeral Home, we can help you with writing obituaries if you decide you would like some assistance. Many people, however, make the choice of writing obituaries themselves. It can actually be a comforting experience once you get started.

To help make things easier for you, here are some simple guidelines to writing obituaries. We hope it will help you.

When writing obituaries for a newspaper, whether it is a local paper or one in the deceased’s hometown, it is helpful to look at examples of already-printed obituaries. Most newspapers require obituaries to be written in a specific style. If you can’t get a hold of an actual copy of the paper, you can usually find examples online.

Decide what you want to include. Typically, there are some standard pieces of information that are included in obituaries. You can also include additional details that you feel will help personalize your loved one’s obituary. The basic obituary includes the following:

  • Full name of the deceased. Include a maiden name, if applicable.
  • Age.
  • Date of birth.
  • City and state of residence where they were living.
  • Name of survivors, including spouse and children. Grandchildren are not always named specifically, but you can mention the number of grandchildren if there are many. You can also include parents if they are still alive.
  • Time, date, and place of viewing, burial, wake, and/or memorial services. If arrangements are pending, it is fine to say so.

Other information you can include:

  • City and state of birth.
  • City and state of other residences, particularly if a good portion of the person’s life was spent in a particular location.
  • Some personal information such as vocation, employment, military service, degrees and schools attended, hobbies, volunteer work, or notable accomplishments.
  • Personality traits and anecdotes.
  • Where to make a memorial contribution. Especially if you do not want people to send flowers, providing this information can be very helpful.

Typically, when writing obituaries, you do not want to include how the person died, unless the circumstances warrant it, such as dying in the war or in a catastrophic situation. That decision to print how someone died is up to you, but we caution you to use good judgment.

Most often, there are limits as to how long an obituary can be. It is mostly based on available space and cost. Newspaper obituaries can be expensive, so it is best to find out the cost up front before you start writing. You will also want to know the newspaper’s deadline for going to print.

At Mountain View Funeral Home, we believe that when obituaries are authored by family members, they tend to be more personal and heartfelt. After all, you know your loved one better than anyone else. If you are still not sure where to begin, it is our pleasure to help you in any way we can. Also, at no additional cost to you, we provide online obituaries on our website and are happy to write one for you.

Writing Obituaries

 

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