An obituary not only informs the public about someone’s death, but it also provides one final glimpse into the person’s life. People can learn where the deceased grew up, find out about important milestones in their life, and learn about their religious involvement. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, this is an important aspect of sharing their beliefs.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Use Obituaries?
- What Should You Include in an Obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness?
- How to Write an Obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness
- Example Obituaries for a Jehovah’s Witness
- Where Can You Post an Obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness?
If you’ve been asked to write an obituary for your Jehovah’s Witness loved one, and you’re uncertain how to proceed, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll provide everything you need to know to write an obituary that honors your loved one’s life and their faith.
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Use Obituaries?
Just like any religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses follow certain rules that inform them how to live. One of those rules is that people shouldn’t be overly glorified. This typically results in not celebrating birthdays during a person’s life and several Jehovah’s Witness funeral traditions that differ from what is the expected norm in most of the West.
One thing that remains the same, however, is the use of obituaries. There is nothing wrong with their use, and most families choose to inform their communities about a loved one’s death by posting an obituary in a local paper or online.
What Should You Include in an Obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness?
If you’ve ever written an obituary before, writing an obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness loved one will feel very similar. The same things you’d include in anyone’s obituary are generally included in an obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness. This includes items like:
- Their full name
- Death date
- Cause of death (optional)
- Names of surviving family members
- Names of predeceased family members
- Religious involvement
- Important life events
- Funeral service information
The notable difference between a Jehovah’s Witness obituary and that of non-Witness obituaries is the inclusion of religious involvement. Most Witness obituaries will include their religious beliefs and involvement.
At a minimum, you should state that the person was “a devoted Jehovah’s Witness.” If they were particularly involved in their local congregation, it’s perfectly acceptable to include several lines about their level of devotion and religious activities.
Note: Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that a person’s life shouldn’t be excessively glorified. Sharing about important events and major milestones is perfectly acceptable, but take care not to go over the top in your writing about them.
How to Write an Obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness
If this is your first time writing an obituary or you need a refresher, it can be helpful to look over basic tips on how to write an obituary.
The first thing you want to do is gather basic information about the person. This includes items from the list at the beginning of this article. Double-check dates and names to make sure you have the correct info written down.
Write the opening lines
The first few lines are simple. This is where you state the person’s name, their age, the date of death, and the cause of death if desired. This is also the place to add their birth date and parents’ names.
Add biographical information
Biographical information includes major milestones and important events such as graduation, jobs, and marriage. You should also include information about religious beliefs and activities.
After this, include a sentence or two with the names of who survived and who predeceased your loved one.
Provide information on services
At the end, you should list information about their funeral service including the date, time, and location where services are held. Generally, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ funeral services are open to the public and everyone is invited to attend. You can indicate that all are invited if you want to be sure this is understood by non-Witness friends or family members.
Include special instructions
Include any special instructions last. This information helps people know what to expect upon arrival. Include information such as whether the site is fully accessible or if it will be held graveside under a tent, for example.
Example Obituaries for a Jehovah’s Witness
Use these obituary examples for a Jehovah’s Witness to help you get started with writing an obituary for a loved one.
Example obituary for a parent or grandparent
Amy Janelle Kilpatric, devoted Jehovah’s Witness, mother, sister, and friend, died Thursday, September 10, 2021, at the age of 72. She was born to Bert and Thelma Walter on March 24, 1949, in Woodstock, Vermont.
She graduated from Woodstock High School and shortly thereafter met Cameron Kilpatric. They were married in 1967 and had two children, Janet and Bobby Kilpatric. Amy spent much time at Rolling Hills Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and was instrumental in leading children’s religious activities.
Aside from volunteering at the church, she enjoyed gardening, spending time with her grandchildren, and painting scenes of Vermont.
Survivors include her two children, Janet Kilpatric-Frazier (married to Marc Frazier) and Bobby Kilpatric (married to Stephanie Holtz). She is also survived by five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Amy was preceded in death by her parents and one sibling early in life.
Services will be held at Maplegrove Cemetery on September 14, 2021, at 12:00 pm in the Memorial Chapel. All are welcome to attend.
Example obituary for a child
Rose Renee Hammond, 10, of Columbus, Indiana, died Tuesday, May 4, 2021, after a lifelong battle with cancer. She was born to Clark and Martha Hammond on November 17, 2021, in Columbus, Indiana.
Rose was a bright and inquisitive child who enjoyed school, baking with her mom, and playing with her friends. She was raised in the Jehovah’s Witness church and attended every service with her parents. Rose also accompanied her parents on Saturdays when they went preaching door to door.
She is survived by her parents, a brother and two sisters, her grandparents on her mother and father’s side, two aunts, an uncle, and many cousins.
Funeral services are scheduled for May 6, 2021, at 2 pm in the Funeral Hall at Memorial Cemetery of Columbus followed by a short graveside service.
Example obituary for a partner or spouse
Graham Foster, 53, died on Monday, November 20, 2021, at home surrounded by his family. He was born to Don and Martha Foster on June 3, 1963, in Clearwater Creek, Florida.
Graham lived in Clearwater Creek his entire life, except for a short period when he went to college at New York University. There he met his wife, Brittany Clement, and they married shortly after he graduated with a degree in cybersecurity. The happy couple had three children, Allison, Taylor, and David.
In addition to his love for cybersecurity and IT, he spent time with his family hiking, exploring, and enjoying nature. He was also a longtime member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses along with his family.
A funeral service for Graham is scheduled for November 24, 2021, at 1:00 pm, in the chapel at Clearwater Creek Cemetery.
Example obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness who died unexpectedly
Judy Dennings, 22, died on October 1, 2021, as the result of a head-on collision. She was born to Royce and Yvonne Dennings on April 14, 1999, in Billings, Montana.
An exuberant and outgoing individual, Judy had recently graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in secondary education. She was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness and enjoyed attending services with her family and fiance.
Judy is survived by her parents, her sister Stephany Dennings, her fiance Brian Webb, grandparents on her mother’s side, a grandmother on her father’s side, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
A funeral service is scheduled for October 3, 2021, at 3:00 pm in the Memorial Hall at Mountain View Cemetery.
Where Can You Post an Obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness?
Thanks to the internet, there are more places to post an obituary for a Jehovah’s Witness today than ever before. Here are the four best places we recommend for posting an obituary.
Newspapers are still traditionally appreciated and utilized by grieving families to spread the word about their loved one’s passing. Depending on the demographic of those you’re trying to reach with the news, a newspaper can get the word out quickly to a large group of people.
Newspapers typically charge per word, per line, or section, depending on how they set up their obituary pages. Publications in larger cities are usually the most expensive, while local and rural publications often have more reasonable fees for obituaries and death notifications.
If you want to include a picture along with the obituary text, you’ll likely face an extra charge.
Online memorial website
Online memorial sites are rapidly gaining in popularity thanks to the many free or low-cost options available, the ability to host a completely customizable site, and the ease of sharing the website through social media, text, and email.
Many online memorial websites are free to use and keep live for as long as you desire. Some websites charge a nominal fee for extra tools such as a photo and video album or the ability to activate a donation button on the website. Other websites provide webpage packages that provide free use for a limited time, a monthly charge, or a one-time payment for lifetime web hosting.
Memorial websites provide you with the most freedom, room to write a lengthy obituary, the ability to post pictures and videos in remembrance, and nearly all of them come in an included digital guestbook so friends and family can share words of condolence and encouragement.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide you with the ability to get the word out about a loved one’s death to a large group of people instantly. While Facebook provides a large text capacity, Twitter limits you to 280 characters, which isn’t much.
If you want to post the full or almost full obituary with a link to the online memorial website where the full obituary is accessible, Facebook is likely the best choice. If you simply want to get the word out, similar to a death notice, then a platform like Twitter will work well.
Many funeral homes are beginning to offer their own version of a memorial website for families they work with. While some funeral homes provide this service as an add-on feature you pay for, some offer it freely with most funeral packages.
Most funeral homes that offer obituary websites provide a complete package, similar to online memorial webpages. Obituary websites typically include nearly unlimited text space for the obituary, a photo and video gallery, a digital guest book that friends and family members can sign, and the ability for your guests to send sympathy cards or flowers directly to the funeral home for your family.
Write a Loving Tribute
Writing the obituary for your loved one is an opportunity to share their religious commitment and unique contributions to the world. Take your time, think through what they’d want to tell the world, and you’re sure to come up with a fitting obituary that honors their memory.