A Guide for Writing the Perfect Obituary

Good morning everyone and happy Friday! I know the holiday season is in full swing, and with Christmas coming next week, I have decided to write a guide to writing the perfect obituary hopes that if you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to write an obituary at this challenging time of year, this guide will serve to make it a little easier....and also allow you to write the perfect obituary. So here it is, my guide to writing the perfect obituary.

If your loved one just passed away, you may be asking yourself, “how do I write an obituary?” Some people feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of writing an obit. They worry that they’ll forget important facts and information, or that the obituary won’t fully capture their loved one’s life.

Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

1. Always check with the newspaper and/or funeral home first. Many funeral homes provide forms for basic information, and will write the full obituary for you as part of the services they provide. The process that we go through at Abbey Cremation is we usually just copy and paste the full obituary written by the family and put it right onto our website, in the obituary section. I am the person who puts the obituaries on the webiste, so I usually will make sure there are no spelling errors, and I may make some minor edits....if it is anything too dramatic I make sure to reach out to the family and make sure I am doing the right thing with the change I want to make. If you do not wish to write the obitiuary, for whatever reason, I will usually have no problem writing one up assuming that you are able to send me all of the information that you want in the obit. Some newspapers have specific style guidelines or restrictions on length, some only accept obituaries directly from funeral homes, and some only publish obituaries written by newspaper staff members.

2. Include as much biographical information as you have available and feel comfortable sharing (the more information you include, the easier it is for acquaintances to identify the deceased as someone they knew). Some items you may wish to include:

  • Full name of the deceased (including maiden name, nickname, or any other name by which your loved one might be identified).

  • Dates and locations of birth, marriage, and death.

  • Cause of death. (Use discretion with this. Obviously if your loved one died unexpectadly, or in a tragic way, you probably would not want to put that in the obit. Obviously the choice is ultimately up to you, just use your best judgement.)

  • Predeceased and surviving loved ones’ names.

  • Schools attended.

  • Military service.

  • Place of employment and position held.

  • Membership in organizations (for example, civic, fraternal, church).

  • Hobbies or special interests.

3. Consider listing one or more charities to which you’d like donations made. If you do, be sure to include the address or web address for the charity to make it easier for people to make donations.

4. If services are public, include full funeral service information: location, day, and time of visitation, memorial or funeral service, and burial. If services are private, indicate so (for example, “Burial will be private” or “Private services will be held”).

5. If the family prefers monetary contributions rather than flowers, include a phrase such as: “In lieu of flowers, please consider the needs of the family” or “contributions suggested to the family,” or “the family is requesting financial assistance for the services.” Try to avoid saying that the family needs money specifically.

6. Plan to publish the obituary at least 1-2 days prior to services so that friends and family can make arrangements to attend. For information on how to submit an obituary to, feel free to give us a call or send an email to You can also fill out the "Contact Us" form on our site.

I believe if you are armed with all of the information packed into this blog post, you will be well on your way to writing the perfect obituary. Obviously if you still have any questions please feel free to call us at 1-800-890-8900, or email us at If you have any edits, or comments about this blog post, please email me directly at or you can comment right in the blog post, as I check the comment daily. Again, I hope that you are able to have a good holiday, and I look forward to writing to you all again soon.

Happy Day

Sean B Quinn

Outreach Coordinator -

Abbey Cremation

203 815 8654