Obituaries are a traditional way to let family and friends publicly celebrate the life of the deceased and announce the death in a compassionate manner. That’s why, no matter if you’re having a non-traditional memorial service or hosting a service in a funeral home in North Versailles, PA, you most likely need to write an obituary for the deceased.
But how do you write an obituary? What are you supposed to include?
Start with an announcement of death. Obituaries usually start with basic information such as the name, age, and place of residence of the deceased. This is followed by the death announcement, including the time and place of death. Most people choose to use a softer word or term that “death,” such as “passed away”, “died”, “went to be with the Lord” etc. Many people are unsure whether or not to list the cause of death in the obituary. At the end of the day, the cause of death is only the family’s business, and does not need to be shared unless the immediate family chooses. However, if the death was sudden and unexpected, listing the cause of death in the public obituary might field questions and repetitions at the funeral.
Next is the biographical sketch. Many people are tempted to write a full account of the deceased’s life. While some people may find that interesting or helpful, the obituary is only meant to detail the most important aspects of his life. Some key pieces to include are the date and place of birth, parent’s names including mother’s maiden name, date and place of marriage, birth name of spouse, education, work, and military service. Feel free to list events chronologically, or to take a more creative approach. Don’t forget to mention specific important relationships and the effect the deceased had on people’s lives. For example, did he have a great sense of humor? Did he always make time for the kids? Was he an exceptional host, golfer, singer?
These other tips can help when it comes time for you to write an obituary:
- Service Times – While tradition varies on this element, most obituaries include funeral information so people can attend if they choose. List the essentials: time, full date and place of service along with the name of the officiate; time, full date and place of burial or interment if applicable; and finally, time, full date and place of visitation.
- Family – As the saying goes, the funeral is for the living. The same can be said for the obituary, so a key element is listing the surviving family members and loved ones. Take care to not forget anyone, but don’t feel the need to list every single member of the extended family.
- Special Messages – Most people choose to include a special thank you or message at the end. This may also include a prayer or poem.
- Photos – Include a photo. While this adds to the cost, it is a lovely way to remind people of their connected to the deceased.
Just get in touch with Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. if you want to learn more about obituaries or North Versailles, PA funeral homes.