When we lose someone dear, finding the right words to honor their memory can be a daunting task. An obituary is more than just a notice of death; it’s a heartfelt tribute, a lasting legacy that encapsulates a life lived. In this “write an obituary” template guide, we will walk you through creating an obituary that truly reflects the essence of your loved one.

Whether you’re a family member, a friend, or tasked with this responsibility, this guide aims to simplify the process, ensuring that the final tribute is as special as the person’s life it represents.

Understanding the Purpose of an Obituary

An obituary serves multiple purposes. Primarily, it’s a formal announcement of someone’s passing, including essential details like their name, age, and date of death.

But more importantly, it’s a narrative that celebrates their life, achievements, and the impact they had on others. It’s a way for the bereaved to publicly express their love, respect, and admiration for the deceased.

Writing an obituary can be a therapeutic process. It allows us to reflect on the precious moments shared, the lessons learned, and the memories cherished. For readers, it offers a glimpse into the life of the departed, providing a space for communal grief and celebration.

An obituary can take many forms, ranging from traditional and solemn to modern and light-hearted. The key is to capture the true spirit of the person, reflecting their values, beliefs, and the essence of their life’s journey.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into the specifics of gathering information, choosing the right tone, and piecing together a narrative that does justice to the life of your loved one. Stay tuned as we guide you step by step in creating a meaningful and lasting tribute.

Gathering Information

The foundation of a touching obituary is the information it contains. Begin by gathering basic details and then dive deeper into the personal stories and attributes that define your loved one. This process not only ensures accuracy but also helps paint a vivid picture of their life.

Basic Details

  • Start with the full name of the deceased, including any nicknames or maiden names.
  • Dates of birth and death are essential. Include the place of birth and death if possible.
  • Mention significant life milestones such as education, career achievements, and major life events.

Family Details

  • List immediate family members, considering both those who preceded in death and survivors. Include spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
  • Acknowledge close relationships, including those with grandchildren, lifelong friends, or pets.

Personal Stories and Achievements

  • Reflect on what made your loved one unique. Were they known for their humor, kindness, or creativity?
  • Collect anecdotes that showcase their personality. These could come from family, friends, or personal memories.
  • Highlight their hobbies, passions, and anything they dedicated their life to, such as community service, artistic pursuits, or professional accomplishments.

Special Attributes

  • Consider the character traits that left a lasting impact on those around them. Were they exceptionally generous, fiercely independent, or remarkably optimistic?
  • Think about phrases or sayings they were known for or any recurring themes in the stories shared by those who knew them best.

Remember, the goal is to compile information that not only informs but also resonates with those who knew and loved them. In the next section, we will discuss how to select the appropriate tone and style to weave these details into a coherent and heartfelt narrative.

Choosing the Right Tone and Style

Selecting the appropriate tone and style for an obituary is crucial. It sets the mood and reflects the personality of your loved one. Here’s how you can decide on the right approach:

Reflect on Personality

  • Consider the demeanor of the deceased. Were they more serious and reserved or light-hearted and jovial?
  • Align the tone with their personality. A humorous individual might be best commemorated with a lighter tone, while a more formal tone might suit a reserved person.

Audience Consideration

  • Think about who will read the obituary. Tailor the style to resonate with family, friends, and the community.
  • Respect cultural and family expectations. Some cultures or families prefer a traditional and respectful tone, even for someone known for their humor.

Balance Emotions

  • An obituary should balance solemnity with celebration. Acknowledge the loss but also celebrate the life lived.
  • Include heartfelt sentiments and fond memories to provide comfort to the readers.

Personal Touch

  • Personalize the obituary with unique details. These can be favorite quotes, hobbies, or a brief mention of cherished moments.
  • If appropriate, include a touch of humor or a lighthearted anecdote that encapsulates their spirit.

Consistency in Writing:

  • Maintain a consistent tone throughout the obituary. Avoid abrupt shifts that might confuse or jar the reader.
  • Use a clear, concise writing style that is easy to read and understand.

In the next section, we’ll dive into the specifics of writing the obituary, providing a step-by-step approach to crafting a meaningful and memorable tribute.

Writing the Obituary: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating an obituary can be broken down into manageable steps. This approach ensures that the obituary is both comprehensive and heartfelt.


  • Begin with the full name of the deceased, including any nicknames, and their age at the time of passing.
  • Mention the date of death and, if appropriate, the cause.

Life Story

  • Outline the key phases of their life: childhood, education, career, and retirement.
  • Highlight major achievements and life-changing events.
  • Include anecdotes that showcase their character and values.

Family Members and Relationships

  • List surviving family members, starting with the closest relations.
  • Mention significant relationships outside the immediate family members, including lifelong friendships or mentors.
  • If the family wishes, include a note of thanks to caregivers or medical staff.

Special Memories

  • Share memorable stories or events that illustrate their personality.
  • Reflect on what they loved most, like hobbies, interests, or community involvement.

Details of Funeral Service

  • Provide information about the funeral or memorial service, including date, time, and location.
  • If the service is private, state this politely.
  • Offer details about any preferred charities for donations in lieu of flowers.

Closing Remarks

  • End with a thoughtful closing that reflects on their legacy or how they will be remembered.
  • This could be a quote, a short poem, or a simple statement of love and farewell.

Remember, the obituary should be a tribute that feels true to the person it honors. It’s not just about the information conveyed but also about the feelings it evokes in those who knew and loved them. In the next section, we’ll provide sample templates to help you get started with your own obituary.

A Free Obituary Template (In Each of 3 Common Styles)

An obituary template can help you begin writing. Below are three examples of how an obituary template can be organized.

You can adapt any of these free obituary templates to fit different styles and tones. Each obituary template serves as a starting point for you to personalize with your loved one’s unique details.


Traditional Obituary Template

[Full Name], aged [Age], passed away peacefully on [Date of Death]. Born in [Birthplace] on [Date of Birth], [He/She] lived a life marked by [Key Qualities or Achievements]. [He/She] is survived by [List of Family Members] and will be dearly missed by [Friends, Community Members, etc.].

[Include a brief overview of life, major milestones, and personal interests].

A memorial service in memory of [Name] will be held at [Location, Date, and Time]. The family suggests donations to [Preferred Charity] in lieu of flowers.

Modern, Personalized Obituary Template

We celebrate the life of [Full Name], who left us on [Date of Death] at the age of [Age]. Known for [Unique Personality Traits or Interests], [Name] touched lives with [His/Her] [Characteristic Actions or Sayings].

[Share a memorable story or two that captures their spirit].

A memorial service to honor [Name]’s legacy will take place at [Location, Date, and Time]. In true [Name] style, we encourage [A Specific Action or Dress Code] to commemorate [His/Her] love for [A Hobby, Color, etc.].

Brief and Heartfelt Obituary Template

On [Date of Death], we said goodbye to [Full Name], aged [Age]. [He/She] leaves behind a legacy of [Key Life Values] and a loving family of [List of Family Members].

[Include a sentence about their role in the lives of family, friends, and/or community].

A private memorial service will be held in [His/Her] honor. The family thanks everyone for their support and love during this time.


Feel free to tailor these templates to reflect your loved one’s life and personality. Consider mixing elements from different templates or add your own unique touches.

In the next section, we’ll cover the final steps of proofreading and publishing the obituary, ensuring that your tribute is ready to be shared with the world.

Final Touches and Publication

After drafting the obituary, it’s important to review and refine it. This final step ensures the tribute is both accurate and respectful.

Proofreading for Accuracy

  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors. A well-written obituary honors the deceased and is easier for readers to understand.
  • Verify all factual information, including dates, names, and places. Accuracy is crucial in an obituary.

Seeking Family Members’ Approval

  • Share the draft with family members. They can offer insights, correct any inaccuracies, and approve the final version.
  • Respect any suggestions or changes they might have, as the obituary should reflect the feelings of those closest to the deceased.

Consideration for Length and Cost

  • Remember that newspapers often charge by length. Keep the obituary concise if budget is a concern.
  • Online platforms usually allow for more flexibility in length and content.

Choosing the Right Platform for Publication

  • Decide where the obituary should be published. Options include local newspapers, online memorial sites, and social media platforms.
  • For newspapers, contact them for submission guidelines and deadlines.

Making the Obituary Public

  • Once published, share the obituary link or details with friends, family, and community members. This can be done via social media, email, or traditional mail.
  • Consider posting on your funeral home’s online memorial page where people can share memories, photos, and condolences.
  • You can also print the obituary on the funeral or memorial service program so that everyone gets a chance to learn about the deceased person’s life. The funeral program may include many other details, and it’s always best to work with your funeral service provider to finalize your funeral program.

Honoring Special Requests

  • If the obituary includes requests for charitable donations or specific actions in memory of the deceased (like wearing a certain color to the funeral), ensure this information is clear and easy to follow.

With these steps, the obituary is ready to be shared, serving as a fitting tribute and a lasting memory of your loved one’s life. This final act of love and remembrance helps begin the healing process and ensures that their legacy is preserved for future generations.

We Can Help

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we recognize the challenge of composing an obituary during a time of grief. The weight of this task, coupled with the myriad responsibilities following a loved one’s passing, can be overwhelming.

Our compassionate team at Renaissance is dedicated to supporting you in planning a funeral service or memorial gathering that beautifully and respectfully celebrates the distinctiveness of your loved one’s life. We are committed to easing your burden and honoring the unique story of the departed with the utmost care and reverence.

Our team is dedicated to guiding you through the process of funeral services and arrangements with compassion and understanding. We believe that every individual deserves a farewell that reflects their personality and life story. Whether you need assistance in crafting your obituary, choosing the right funeral services, or organizing the finer details of funeral arrangements, we are here for you.

Renaissance’s commitment to excellence ensures that your loved one’s memorial is handled with the utmost care and respect. Let us support you in creating a meaningful and fitting tribute that celebrates the life of your beloved family member or friend.