Obituary Writing Tips

Obituary Writing Tips

February 12, 2019

Are you facing the task of writing an obituary? This can be extremely challenging. What should you say? What’s appropriate to say? How long should it be? Monument makers in Phillipsburg, NJ know these are common questions for those who are assigned this difficult job.

To make this tough task a little bit easier, your monument maker in Phillipsburg, NJ offers the following tips. Use these to guide your efforts and create an obituary that will properly honor your loved one:

  • Research: What newspaper will be publishing the obituary? Research the paper to learn what format they offer, what procedures they would like you to follow and what cost is involved.
  • Tell: Be sure to include a story of your loved one’s life, rather than just the facts surrounding his or her death. Try to tell a compelling story and use examples of their qualities rather than simply listing their characteristics. For example, rather than writing “John was a charitable man,” write about his charity work.
  • Refer: For obituaries, the proper voice is the third person. That means you will refer to your loved one as an individual. Try to focus on the deceased, rather than on the survivors. For example, don’t refer to your loved one as “Mom” or “Dad.”
  • Summarize: Try to find three to six words that sum up your loved one’s life. This will help guide the obituary. This could be used as the epitaph on his or her grave as well.
  • Include: Obituaries typically mention whom the deceased was “predeceased by.” You’ll need to decide whom to include in this list. Choose how many generations you want to include and how broad you want to extend the branches of the family tree.
  • Vary: Oftentimes, you’ll need more than one version of the obituary. You’ll need a shorter one for the newspaper and a longer one for the funeral service. You may need a third to include in a family history or website. It might be easiest to start with the longest version, then choose portions from this to include in the shorter ones. Note, a newspaper obituary is typically between 150 and 500 words.
  • Edit: Be sure to carefully proofread and edit the obituary. It’s easy to miss errors in your own work, especially when it comes to such an emotional task. For best results, write the obituary, then set it aside for at least a day. Look at it with fresh eyes to see if you need to make any corrections or revisions for improvement. It might be helpful to ask someone else to proofread the obituary for you to help catch any typos and provide additional feedback.

Get More Tips

As your local monument maker in Phillipsburg, NJ, we know this is not an easy task. If you’d like additional tips on obituary writing or other related items, don’t hesitate to contact our professional staff. We’ve been a premier provider of memorials throughout the region since 1939. Our family owned and operated business offers a variety of services that include granite memorials, bronze plaques and cemetery lettering and cleaning. Our reputation for professionalism, dependability and craftsmanship are hallmarks of our service. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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