How to Write an Obituary
Jordana Kluyt Office Manager
The following is a guide to composing an obituary. One of our Funeral Directors will assist with any final touches, as well as ensuring that the obituary is published in any newspaper you request.
To avoid any mistakes, you should print rather than write the draft out by hand. If you are typing the obituary, please provide Olivers with a hard copy as well as a saved copy on either a USB Drive or e-mail us a copy:
SUBJECT: <deceased last name>
Click here to read sample obituaries.
Please click here for printer-friendly Obituary template
If you need any assistance or have any questions regarding obituaries please call me at any time.
We at Olivers will help you put together an obituary that will honour your loved one.
That is our promise to you.
What is an Obituary?
An obituary is often the first thing people read in the newspaper each day - and, for many, it will likely be the last thing written about their lives. More than merely a goodbye to the deceased, it is a farewell detailing their life in chronological order. An obituary also serves as notification that an individual has passed away and provides information on any services that are scheduled to take place. Since the cost of running an obituary generally varies by length, it is best to be aware of the line rate for each paper you want the obituary to appear in before you begin your composition. People often save obituaries as remembrances of someone they loved, so make sure that the final product is something worthy of a scrapbook and - more importantly - worthy of your loved one's memory.
What Should Be Included?
Standard pieces of information to include are the announcement, biographical, scheduled services and memorials
It is important to state the deceased's full name, along with their dates of birth and death. You may wish to consider placing a photograph (which can appear in black and white) along with the text for an additional charge.
Recount, in a concise manner, the significant events in the life of the deceased. This may include the schools he or she attended and any degrees attained as well as their vocations or interests.
Survivors and Predeceased Information
It is customary to list family members who have survived the deceased, as well as immediate family members who predeceased him or her, including:
- Spouse/partner and children (with their spouses’/partners’ names also noted in brackets, if applicable)
- Adopted children
- Half and step siblings
- Surviving in-laws
These surviving relatives should be listed by name. Other relatives need not be mentioned by name but may be referenced in terms of their relationship to the deceased: for example, the obituary may say that the deceased leaves behind five grandchildren, seven nieces, etc.
Provide details of the scheduled services, including the time, date and address. These may include the funeral, visitations, burial and memorial service as applicable.
Give the name and mailing address of a foundation or society to which you wish to direct any memorial donations made in honour of your loved one. The decision as to which foundation or society to support may be based upon interests or values that your loved one expressed during life or related to a medical condition which he or she had. We recommend you refrain from using the phrase ‘ in lieu of flowers ’ when requesting memorial donations. Instead, start the final paragraph of the obituary with the words ‘ Memorial donations may be made to … .'
All information included in the obituary should be verified with another family member. Have them assist you in confirming the dates, those who should be mentioned, correct spelling of names and the details of the scheduled funeral service.
If you are having trouble getting started, read other obituaries (Click here to see samples)
Take into consideration when and in which newspapers (both local and out of town) you wish your funeral director to publish the obituary.
- "It is with great sadness that the family of (deceased name) announce (his/her) passing...."
- "(Deceased name) will be sadly missed by ...."
- "Fondly remembered by...."
- "Forever remembered by...."
- "Lovingly remembered by...."
- "Wife/husband and best friend of (number) years...."
- "A Celebration of (deceased's name) life will be held on...."
The following are three fictitious examples of obituaries:
FORBES, Alex Downton
It is with great sadness that the family of Alex Downton Forbes announces his passing after a brief illness, on Saturday, April 3, 2014, at the age of 70 years. Alex will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 45 years, Joan and his children, Mike (Judy), Brad (Jill), Sue (Dan) Armandeau, and Ryan (Heidi). Bill will also be fondly remembered by his eight grandchildren, Brandy, Kala, Jack, Phillip, Jonah, Mackenzie, Paul and Austin, by his sisters, Ann (Joe) Kispinski, Eileen Rudolph and by sister-in-law Anne Forbes. Alex was predeceased by his brother Anton Forbes.
A Funeral Service in memory of Alex will be held on Thursday, April 7, 2014 at 1:00 p.m., at the Olivers Funeral Home, 10005 107 Ave, Grande Prairie, with Rev. George Malcolm officiating. Interment will follow in the family plot at Emerson Trail Cemetery. Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Alex to the (name and mailing address of foundation/society).
Riley, Laura (nee Gorman)
On Monday, February 3, 2014, Laura Riley, wife, mother, daughter and sister, passed away suddenly at the age of 36 years. Laura will be forever remembered by her husband and best friend Greg, and their precious children, Cody and Pamela, by her parents Jack and Ann Gorman, and by her brothers and sisters Andrew (Jill), Ken (Hope), Kim (Justin) Halow and Tianna (Wade) O'Halen. Andrea will also be forever remembered by her numerous nieces, nephews and extended family and dear friends.
A Prayer Service will be held on Thursday, February 6, at 7:00 p.m., at Oliver’s Funeral Home, 10005 – 107 Ave, Grande Prairie.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in memory of Laura on Friday, February 7, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Joseph ’ s Catholic Church, 10404 - 102 Street, Grande Prairie, with Reverend Remi Hebert C.Ss.R. presiding.
Memorial donations in memory of Laura may be made to (name and mailing address of foundation/society).
Dalton, John "Jack"
John Dalton, known to friends as "Jack," passed away on September 4, 2014, at the age of 78 years.
A native of Grovedale, Jack attended the University of Alberta, graduated with a degree in law and practiced in the Peace River area prior to being appointed to the bench of the Alberta Supreme Court.
In 1959, he began his law career with Dion and Dechant law firm where he was to spend his entire time in private practice. He was appointed Crown Attorney in 1980 and Justice of Family Court in 1982, serving in this capacity until 1990 when he was appointed as a Justice of the Alberta Supreme Court.
Jack served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Evergreen Park and the Tepee Creek Stampede, Parkinson's Research Foundation, as well as chair of the Alberta Toastmasters for three years.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Cora (nee Dechant), sons Colin, Jr. (Lori) and Adam (Jacquie), 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
A Celebration of Jack ’ s life will be held at 10 am, on Monday, September 7, at the Oliver’s Funeral Home, 10005 – 107 Ave, Grande Prairie, with Reverend Mary Blackburn officiating.
Memorial donations in memory of Jack can be made to (name and mailing address of foundation/society).
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