If you volunteered to write your father-in-law’s eulogy, you must have been close to your spouse’s dad. When you volunteer to write a eulogy, you are telling others that you want to make sure that the final tribute is heartfelt and unique. Perhaps you trust no one else to do the job well.
If you were asked to write the eulogy, the process might be more difficult. You may struggle to describe this complex man, and you may be worrying about finding the right words and phrases that your spouse’s family will approve.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Learn About Your Father-in-Law’s Life
- Step 2: Talk With Others Who Knew Him
- Step 3: Think About Your Memories of Your Father-in-Law
- Step 4: Think of a Theme for the Eulogy
- Step 5: Write an Introduction, Body, and Conclusion
- Step 6: Have Others Read the Eulogy
- Eulogy Examples for a Father-in-Law
Regardless of what kind of relationship you had with your father-in-law, we are here to help you find the perfect words. Just as you would search for internet articles to learn about appropriate funeral attire, you can depend on the internet to lead you through this writing process.
We'll tell you what to expect at a funeral, and we'll give you tips on how to begin the writing process. We will also provide you with some examples of text you may want to use in your speech. Start by following these simple steps.
If writing a eulogy is just one of the unfamiliar tasks you're undertaking after the death of your father-in-law, our post-loss checklist may be able to help you sort it all out.
Step 1: Learn About Your Father-in-Law’s Life
Begin by reading your father-in-law’s obituary. In it, you will learn about his upbringing and early years. This knowledge will give you talking points for when you speak with others about your father-in-law’s personality (which we will discuss in the next step).
Learn about your father-in-law’s parents, and where he spent his formative years. Find out about his schooling, first jobs, or military service. Find out what organizations he was a member of and about any hobbies that he may have enjoyed.
Although it's important to remember that eulogies are different than obituaries, you may find it helpful to include some of the details of his life as you write the speech for the funeral.
Step 2: Talk With Others Who Knew Him
Chances are, you may not have met your father-in-law until he was a middle-aged man. Being an in-law, you may have only been allowed to see your father-in-law in a particular light. Perhaps you would be better equipped to write his eulogy if you talked with others who knew him well.
Talk with his siblings to see what he was like as a kid or a teen. Interview his neighbors to see if you gain any insights from people who knew him for decades.
If you're able, talk with his friends and co-workers. Surely, they will know another side of your father-in-law that you were never privy to. Finally, talk with your spouse and your kids.
Perhaps you will uncover that your father-in-law was not only generous with your family, but he was also that way to his friends and neighbors.
Maybe you will find out that your father-in-law served at homeless shelters because he lost a brother to the streets years ago.
You may uncover your father-in-law’s heroic actions on a battlefield (if so, read our guide on writing a eulogy for a veteran), or that he paid the college tuition for several in his community.
We may know facts about people through interacting with them, but we may not uncover motives for the way they were until after they die. Use some of these facts and motives when writing the eulogy.
Step 3: Think About Your Memories of Your Father-in-Law
Think of your interactions with your father-in-law.
What did he say to you the first time you met? Did he ever have some personal, heartfelt interaction that you may feel like sharing with others? Why were you asked to write the eulogy? Or why did you volunteer to write the eulogy?
Step 4: Think of a Theme for the Eulogy
Some eulogies seem long and rambling. Others are a list of disjointed memories or meaningless encounters. Some tributes are full of flowery language and no clear examples of what the person was really like in day-to-day life.
To avoid writing a eulogy that others will quickly forget, consider coming up with a central theme for your speech. What trait or quality would everyone agree exemplifies your father-in-law? Come up with specific stories that relate to this theme, and the eulogy will practically write itself.
Perhaps the stories will all relate to the generous spirit of your father-in-law. Maybe your father-in-law was brave and would stand up for others who needed assistance. Was your father-in-law known for being funny? Possibly, your eulogy might be full of hilarious stories that describe his life.
Step 5: Write an Introduction, Body, and Conclusion
It may have been a while since you have written a speech. Just as a reminder, you should write an attention-grabbing introduction, several clear, concise stories in the body, and wrap the whole thing up with a conclusion. Consider creating an outline to work from and keep yourself on track.
One note about the introduction—don’t forget to introduce yourself. Chances are there will be people attending the funeral who you do not know. If you don’t tell the audience who you are, they may spend time trying to figure out your relationship with the deceased instead of listening to your heartfelt words.
You also may consider using famous quotes, song lyrics, religious verses, or poems in the text of your eulogy. There are plenty of websites offering funeral quotes for a eulogy, but it is always best to refer to writing that was important to the life of the deceased.
Step 6: Have Others Read the Eulogy
You may not have written a speech since college, or perhaps you have never spoken to a large group before in your life. That’s why you must run your statement through a grammar check and have others proofread it for you.
Having others check for grammar errors protects you from humiliation, but that’s only the first part of the editing process. You should also have others check that the text puts your father-in-law in the best light possible.
Your honest evaluation of your father-in-law’s life may sound rude to others. Telling an inappropriate story at someone’s funeral could have lasting consequences, and the damage can never be undone. Choose your words wisely.
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Eulogy Examples for a Father-in-Law
Here are some examples of text you can use for your father-in-law’s eulogy.
Whether you are a daughter-in-law or son-in-law, consider using some of these intros, phrases, and conclusions in your speech for your father-in-law’s funeral.
- Hello. My name is Bill Smith. I am honored to speak today at my father-in-law’s funeral. Before I continue, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to my mother-in-law Grace and Grace and Michael’s children—Barbara, Sam, and my wife, Emily. On their behalf, I would like to thank you all for coming to support our family during this difficult time.
- My earliest memory of my father-in-law was when I met him at the Geer Family Reunion. I was nervous about meeting him since Cindy and I had only been dating for a short time. But George quickly put me at ease. It was only when we were placed on opposite teams during the family football game that I realized that George was indeed a force.
- One of my father-in-law’s heroes was Winston Churchill. He once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” This quote exemplifies Bob’s generous spirit and humble attitude regarding life. Let me tell you some stories today about Bob’s generosity that you may not have heard before.
- My father-in-law Steve had an amazing life. He was a war hero, an entrepreneur, a leader of his large family, and held office in his community and church. Even though he is known for his many accomplishments, I would like to tell you about another side of Steve today. He was, without a doubt, one of the gentlest men I have ever known.
- My name is Grace. And even though Leo was technically my father-in-law, he was more like a father to me. I asked the family if I could give the eulogy because I wanted you all to know how important and influential this man was in my life.
- My father-in-law’s tremendous faith has always inspired me. Even though he suffered much during his cancer treatments, he never complained. When I asked him how he could remain so strong, he showed me this verse from Revelation 21. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” This quote gave him hope and comfort, so I share it with you today so it can do the same for you.
- Thank you so much for being here this afternoon to support my mother-in-law and the rest of the family. We would love to hear your favorite memories of our friend Greg. He was an important part of all of our lives, and we would like to know what he meant to others as well.
- Trent grew up in a small town in Eastern Colorado. Even though his family moved to L.A. when he was a teenager, those small-town traits were embedded in his personality. Trent was always so welcoming and polite. In fact, the first time I met him, he gave me a huge hug to welcome me to the family. Not everyone is lucky enough to get this treatment from a potential father-in-law.
Write a Memorable Eulogy
Hopefully, this article has given you points to ponder as you sit down to write your father-in-law’s eulogy. Remember these final key points, too. Remember to be kind. Family relationships can be complicated, and nobody lives a faultless life.
Finally, speak from the heart. Focus on the things you admire about your father-in-law. Tell positive stories and share heartfelt remembrances if you can. If you want more tips, check out our full guide on how to write a eulogy.