Even if you write quite a bit for your job or for fun, you probably have had little experience writing obituaries. After all, most people only write obituaries for their closest family members. Even then, some people choose to assign this task to professionals who do it every day.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Obituary Example for Parents
- Obituary Example for Grandparents
- Obituary Example for a Spouse
- Obituary Example for a Sibling
- Obituary Example for an Only Child
- Obituary Example for a Minor Child
If you recently lost a loved one, you may want to complete this task yourself. After all, you knew your deceased family member better than anyone else. Taking the time to write his or her obituary is an act of love and respect.
Tip: If you'd like more help through the complicated process of losing a loved one, check out our post-loss checklist.
As you face your task, here are some things you may consider including:
- The deceased’s full name
- Birth and death dates
- Age of death
- Cause of death
- Name of parents
- Community involvement
- Church and club membership
- Names and relationships of survivors
- Time, date, and place of the memorial service
- Memorial donation information
Here are some obituary examples and snippets to get you started.
Obituary Example for Parents
Susan Louise (Thompson) Jones, 85, passed away peacefully at her home on Thursday, March 28, 2020. She was surrounded by her four children and husband of 55 years.
Susan was born on January 13, 1935, on her family’s farm near Smithville, Illinois. She was the fourth of nine children of Michael and Louise (Robinson) Thompson. Susan loved growing up with her large family and helping on the farm, but she hated taking care of the chickens. She often told the story of being chased by the mean rooster and preferred spending time in the garden or caring for the lambs
Susan was a wonderful mother and grandmother. She doted on her family and was happiest when her large brood surrounded her. She hosted large Sunday dinners almost every week where her family feasted on fried chicken and lemon meringue pie."
Samuel Chester McDonald was finally reunited with the love of his life on April 2, 2020. His beloved wife of 68 years, Laura Ann (Smith) McDonald, died in 2014, and Samuel spent the last six years talking about how much he was looking forward to seeing her in heaven.
Samuel lived a long, happy life and died peacefully in his sleep at the Centerville Hospice Center after a short battle with lung cancer. He is survived by three children, Rose (Michael) Porter, Mary (Doug) Winters, and Sammy (Dorothy) McDonald. He was a beloved Papa to 14 grandchildren and recently became a great-grandfather when little Charlotte McDonald was born in February to his oldest grandson and his wife.
Samuel worked hard all his life as an employee of the BNSF Railroad. He loved trains and even had a large model train in his basement that he loved sharing with his grandkids and friends.
Obituary Example for Grandparents
While some retirees spend their time on the golf course or playing cards, Michael spent his golden years volunteering in the community. He delivered meals to shut-ins, administered communion to the elderly at local nursing homes, tutored children at the local library’s afterschool program, and built hundreds of birdhouses for local parks. Michael had a servant’s heart and lived by 1 Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Michael also loved spending time with his sons and their families. As he was a physical education for 28 years, he loved organizing his family into teams for softball games, bean bag tournaments, and pull-up competitions.
Grandma Joyce was a keeper of things. She had enough plastic butter tubs to hold every leftover in the tri-county area. She collected coffee grounds, aluminum pie pans, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, and bread bags. She was the queen of “reduce, reuse, recycle” before it became a popular way of life.
She also had many passions. Grandma Joyce loved the Texas Rangers, “The Price is Right,” Janet Evanovich novels, and bingo. But Grandma Joyce’s favorite things were her flowers. She grew every variety of iris, peonies, clematis, and chrysanthemum. The members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will surely miss the altar bouquets that she provided most weeks.
Obituary Example for a Spouse
Walter Michael Shone, loving husband and father, died unexpectedly on February 18, 2020, at his home.
Walter was born on April 28, 1972, to Peter and Sandra (Tipp) Shone. His parents were quick to notice Walter’s love of music, which began at an early age. They hired a piano instructor when he was three, and began his lifelong love of the instrument.
Walter was active in Centerville High School’s music program all four years and then went on to study music education at Iowa State University. He taught high school band and choir for 22 years.
Michelle did not let her cancer diagnosis slow her down. In fact, she volunteered in her daughter’s classroom every week, even during radiation treatments. She maintained a positive attitude throughout her illness and showed more concern for her husband and daughters than for herself.
Her family asks that contributions be made to her alma mater, Saint Mary’s College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in art history and was passionate about spreading the love of arts throughout her community.
Obituary Example for a Sibling
Beth was a wonderful sister and friend. She hosted countless wedding and baby showers, brought soup to her friends and family when they were sick, left small gifts for people on their doorsteps when they were having a bad day, and was kind to all. Her vivacious and giving spirit will be missed by many.
Even though Beth was taken too soon, she lived an extraordinary life surrounded by people who adored her. Please join us as we celebrate this special person’s life at 1 p.m. on Friday, November 8, at St. Andrew’s Church in Albuquerque.
George loved a good practical joke and spent a lot of time planning elaborate tricks on his brothers and nephews. The only person who was ever spared from his good-natured trickery was his mother, who had taught him everything she knew about planning a good prank.
George also enjoyed deer hunting, fishing for catfish, sitting around a campfire, and making his own beer. His constant companion was his German shepherd, Max.
Obituary Example for an Only Child
Samantha Kane, 23, died after sustaining injuries from a car accident on October 28, 2019. She was the only child of Phillip and Rose Kane, who survive at the family home.
Miss Kane was a recent graduate of Creighton University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She was recently hired at Cole and Sons as an account executive and was looking forward to beginning her professional career.
Mr. King is survived by his fiance, Bernice Smith, and his parents, Stewart and Patricia (Porter) King.
Mr. King’s memorial service will be held on Friday, March 13, at 2 p.m. at Davidson’s Funeral Home in Winchester, Idaho. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to the American Cancer Society be made in his name.
Obituary Example for a Minor Child
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our sweet baby, Sophia Andrea Krugg. Although Sophia only lived seven months, she brought great joy to her family. They are heartbroken by her loss.
Sophia is meeting her maternal grandparents, Ralph and Cindy Schmidt, in heaven. She is survived by her parents, Michael and Kathy Krugg; a stepsister, Julianne Krugg; grandparents Andrew and Blythe Krugg; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Zeke was a bright and inquisitive child. He enjoyed taking things apart and attempting to put them back together. Even when going through his cancer treatment, Zeke was fascinated with all the machines in the hospital and kept the nurses on their toes by asking how everything worked.
Zeke also liked playing with Legos, listening to country music, playing with his cat Ralphie, and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
He is survived by his mother, Priscilla Jones, and his stepfather, Mike; his father Rick Abernathy and his stepmother, Sasha; a half brother, Samuel Abernathy; and stepsister Bethany Jones.
The Most Difficult Writing Task You’ll Ever Do
As the cursor flashes before you on the computer screen, you may be overwhelmed by writing your loved one’s obituary. How do you write the obituary for a mother who was your personal hero and best friend? How do you say goodbye to your four-year-old daughter, who fought so bravely against cancer?
Besides being emotionally difficult, you may also have logistical questions such as the etiquette of listing a predeceased family member? How do you name the "survived by" family members if the father was never part of the person’s life?
Remember to ask for help writing your loved one’s obituary if you find the task proves too overwhelming. Another family member, friend, or funeral home staff member can also write the obituary.