Ways to Personalize an Obituary

By: Adam Ciha
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Often times obituaries follow a similar outline in which basic information is included to notify family and friends of the death of a loved one such as dates of birth and death and the details of funeral or memorial services. Personalizing a piece of information such as this can become complicated in the sense that there is a great deal you may want to include, but are often working with limited space and influences from newspaper obituary fees.

Making an obituary unique and specific to your loved one, while still following the order of information that should be included can be overwhelming and stressful for some families. Here are some ways that can help you along the way as you write your loved one’s obituary.


Information to collect as you prepare to write an obituary may include:

* Full name – including maiden name

* Date and location of birth

* Date and location of death

* Spouse and date of marriage

* Children and loved ones

* Education

* Career

* Community involvement, groups, or civic, fraternal, religious, volunteer, and professional organizations they were a part of

* Hobbies, interests, and skills


Once you have created some points under each of the categories listed you can begin including unique personal touches that will help personalize your loved one’s obituary.

Specific Examples: When talking about education, career, groups, hobbies or skills, think of any specific examples you can mention that really show a true reflection or who this person was and why they enjoyed the path they chose. For example, if they were part of an organization for fundraisers for animals, explain why they loved it so much. Perhaps add a quote they had said before that relates to this.

Stories: By communicating with the friends and family of your loved one and collecting stories about their favorite memories or greatest times with this person, you can piece together a commonality that each person experienced with your loved one. You can choose a word that describes them best in the point of view of everyone they loved and cared about. You can also, let these storytellers know the word you have chosen so when they read the obituary they know exactly what you are referring to and also including them.

Once you have taken some time on the relationships your loved one shared with not only you, but also the people they’ve surrounded themselves with, you can really bring out the essence of their soul with this obituary.

At the time of a loved one's death, this may seem like a overwhelming task, and not something you want to address at that moment, when we sit down to discuss service options, we will ask all of these questions, and if you would prefer, prepare an intial obituary for your family to review and edit prior to submitting that to any newspapers or publishing that obituary online.

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