6 Sample Obituaries for Fathers, Grandpas & Step-Dads


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In his novel The Twelve, author Justin Cronin wrote, “As long as we remember a person, they’re not really gone. Their thoughts, their feelings, their memories, they become a part of us.”

One of the ways we can ensure the memories of our loved ones live on is by writing an obituary. An obituary is a written notice of a person’s death. It is often accompanied by biographical details.

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An obituary is the most well-known method used to announce a death. Historically obituaries were published in newspapers. Now they are also published on online memorial sites

A newspaper may write and publish an obituary for a famous person or a local person of note. But usually, it is the responsibility of the deceased's family to provide an obituary. If you’re writing an obituary, make sure to include these details:

  • The deceased’s full name (including middle name or initial, maiden name, and nickname)
  • The date and place of death
  • The cause of death (if you choose to share that information)
  • Birthdate and birthplace
  • Names of parents, siblings, spouses/partners, and children

Consider including other notable details as well. Things like education, accolades, and military service are appropriate to include.

Still not sure how to write an obituary? Check out the examples below:

Tip: If you need help prioritizing other post-death details, check out our post-loss checklist.

1. For a Father Who Died Too Young

Christopher Michael Bradley passed away on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, after a brief battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 37.

Chris was born on May 16, 1982, in Denver, Colorado. He attended the University of Florida. He held a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Event and Recreation Management and a minor in Spanish. 

An enthusiastic traveler, before graduating from college Chris had visited all fifty states. He took a gap year after he graduated and backpacked through Western Europe. He picked up a few new languages and took hundreds of photographs. 

Chris’ love of skiing soon brought him back to Denver. He began working in the hospitality industry. In 2012 Chris married Emily Grace Williamson, his high school sweetheart. They reconnected on the slopes at Loveland Ski Resort. The following year they welcomed daughter Rosaline Ava Bradley. Chris was excited for Rosaline to join him and Emily for a lifetime of adventures. He never stopped planning the adventures they could all have together. 

In addition to Emily and Rosaline, Chris is survived by his father and mother, Walter Allen Bradley and Kimberly Yvonne Bradley, as well as his sister Sarah Elizabeth Bradley. He was predeceased by his brother, Jason Joseph Bradley. 

The funeral service will be at Cook and Sons Funeral Home, 4321 Main Street, Denver, Colorado, on Friday, October 25, 2019, at 2 pm. A visitation before the service will begin at noon. The family will be there to welcome friends and relatives.

Please send memorial donations to the Glioblastoma Foundation PO Box 62066, Durham, NC 27715.

2. For a Loving Grandfather

Albert William March of York, Nebraska passed away on Monday, October 14, 2019, at the age of 96. After several months of declining health, Albert died peacefully with his beloved wife Myra and their children by his side. 

Albert was born in York on March 6, 1923, to father Charles Thomas March and mother Lillian Louise March. The oldest of three sons, Albert didn’t have the opportunity for much formal education. He helped out on his family’s small farm and worked any odd jobs he could find starting at an early age. His work ethic and desire to take care of his family led to him enlisting in the Army at age 18. He was stationed in Nice, France from 1943 -1945. 

At the end of the war, Albert returned to York and used his G.I. Bill benefits to buy property next to his family’s farm. Together with his father, they grew the family business exponentially. This growth helped bring economic prosperity to York. Albert invested heavily in the town’s youth. He funded scholarship opportunities for outstanding students. Through these endeavors, he met local schoolteacher Myra Jean Kelly. They married in 1954.  

Albert was preceded in death by his parents and by his brothers Samuel James March and Donald Richard March. He is survived by his wife Myra Jean March; children Gary Stephen March and Pamela Dawn Anthony; grandchildren Heather Nicole March, John Joseph March, and Ryan William Anthony; and great-granddaughter Willow Jane Anthony. 

A visitation for Albert is planned for Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 1 pm to 3 pm. The visitation will be at the Spencer Funeral Home on 1234 Main Street, York, Nebraska. All are invited to attend. The funeral will follow immediately at 3 pm. 

People wishing to honor Albert’s lifelong commitment to family and community can make donations to the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation. Please send all donations to PO Box 1321 North Platte, NE 69103. 

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3. For a Step-Dad

On Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019, Demetrius Malik Smith was called home at the age of 47.  The world has lost a great son, brother, husband, father, and leader.

Demetrius was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 4th, 1972. He relocated to Tampa, Florida as a teenager with his mother and younger brother. Demetrius was a skilled football player. But his mother insisted that education always be his priority. He was a starting player for the Florida State University football team, but his real passion was behind-the-scenes. Demetrius held a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology.  

If you asked Demetrius, his greatest accomplishment wasn’t his football legacy or his career. It was being a father. Demetrius met his wife Claudia Denise Marquez through a mutual friend. It was love at first sight. That love grew to include Claudia’s young daughter Sasha. Claudia and Sasha called Demetrius her bonus dad instead of her step-father. Sasha formally took his last name when she turned eighteen. 

Demetrius is survived by his mother Coretta, brother Derrick, wife Claudia, and daughter Sasha. He was preceded in death by his father Marvin Ronald Smith. Join Demetrius’ family for a homegoing service on Saturday, October 26th, 2019 at 11 am. The service will be held at Zion AME Church in Tallahassee, FL on 2468 Bethel Avenue.  

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4. For a Father-in-Law

On Saturday, October 12th, 2019, at 11 am, the family of James Michael O’Leary welcomes you to join them. A green burial will be held at the Foxfield Preserve located at 9887 Alabama Ave. SW in Wilmot, Ohio, 44689.

James was born on July 14, 1949, in Cleveland, Ohio. Orphaned at a young age, he spent many of his formative years in orphanages. As a teenager, he turned to factory work to make a living. In his early twenties, he fell in love with Kathleen Rose Murphy, a seamstress. The two married and welcomed their son Patrick Francis O’Leary to the world in 1974. 

Sadly, Kathleen died in an accident when their son was young. James raised Patrick as a single father. James remained devoted to Kathleen even after her death. He never remarried. Patrick married into the Norman family of Canton, Ohio in 1998. Both father and son were welcomed into the Norman family fold. When Patrick passed away in 2010 from Pancreatic cancer, the Normans provided James with much-needed support. He was, and always will be, a part of their family. 

Though James grew up in the city, he found solace in nature. He was the most connected to his family when exploring the hiking trails surrounding Canton. His surviving family will return him to the earth in a green burial. James requested this burial as a way to be eternally connected to his parents, his wife, and his son.

James Michael O’Leary is survived by his daughter-in-law Sarah Norman O’Leary; his granddaughters Hannah Olivia O’Leary and Ashley Elizabeth O’Leary; and countless extended family and found family members. All held him in the highest regard and loved him dearly.

5. For a Father Who Died Unexpectedly 

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019, the Harkness family lost their hero in a tragic accident. Noah Sullivan “Sully” Harkness lost his life rescuing his family from a fire that engulfed their home. Sully was able to get his father outside. He succumbed to smoke inhalation when he went back to help his wife with their young children.

Sully was born in Ellsworth on August 6th, 1991. While attending Ellsworth High School he became interested in the boat building club. During his tenure, he grew skilled in the art of wooden boat building. After graduation, he started his own business building custom wooden boats. He also provided servicing and restoration to vintage wooden boats. To preserve the tradition of boat making, he taught classes.

Family members will be scattering Sully’s ashes at sea in a private ceremony. To honor Sully’s memory they will be traveling to sea in several of his handcrafted boats. Friends and members of the community are invited to join the Harkness family on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at 5 pm for a celebration of life service. Join us at the Maple Oak Funeral Home on 8642 Main Street in Ellsworth. 

Sully is survived by his father Mark Brian Harkness; his wife Amanda Ava Harkness; and his daughters Zoe Savannah Harkness and Skylar Brianna Harkness. He is predeceased by his mother Crystal Lee Harkness. His tireless love and devotion to his family were evident in his final moments.    

6. For a Father Who Battled a Long Illness

If you asked a hundred people who Paul Thomas Carter was, they’d all give you a different story. A secret agent. A superhero. The tallest man in the world. An elephant tamer. The world’s oldest baby. A garden hose salesman. A movie star. A lost prince from an alternate universe. The last unicorn tamer in the galaxy. 

Paul was none of these things, or perhaps he was all of them. What he was, was a storyteller. From the time he was young he was constantly spinning yarns. It didn’t matter if he was trying to entertain his seatmate during a boring lesson. Or trying to distract his brothers and sisters from the fact that the cupboards were bare. No matter the occasion, Paul had a story.  

It’s no surprise that Paul featured as the hero of most of his tales. He was born in Brooklyn on December 24th, 1950. He was an early Christmas present to his unprepared family. Paul was born two months premature, and he had underdeveloped lungs. This left him with debilitating asthma that limited his ability to play with other kids his age. Instead, he developed a rich inner life. He drew comic books starring kids in his class and sold them for a nickel. He was able to help take care of his siblings with this money. He turned these talents into an illustrious career as a bestselling children’s author. 

Paul never had children, but he considered every child who loved his stories part of his family. While hospitalized with complications from his asthma, Paul had a lot of time to write his obituary. He asks you to remember this last message: keep telling stories. It is our stories that connect us and unite us. It is through our stories that we can change the world. 

Obituaries for Father Figures

A human life is a collection of stories. The obituary serves as a final telling of some of those stories. If you don’t know as much as you think you should about their lives, there’s no time like the present to begin learning.

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