You can never be fully prepared to write an obituary for a child. It’s something no one enters this world expecting to do someday. As painful as it may be, it’s possible for anyone to write an obituary for a son or a step-son with some guidance.
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As you may know or learn, obituaries serve as a way to publicly announce your son or step-son’s death. Below, we’ve provided some sample obituaries for sons that have fulfilled different roles.
You may also find our post about how to write an obituary for a child helpful. And for more help with all of the tasks associated with losing a loved one, from writing an obituary to finding grief support, check out our post-loss checklist
Obituary Samples for Sons
An important thing to note about obituaries is that they always include key facts about the deceased person. However, you shouldn’t view obituaries as limiting. You’re still free to include your own flair and personalize them in such a way to honor your son or step-son. Be sure to also check out this post about how to write an obituary.
1. Example for a son who’s a child or teenager
“Derek Evans passed away at the age of 10 years old on Monday, July 27, 2020. He was a talented baseball player and a beloved son, grandson, brother, and friend.
“He is survived by his parents, Trevor and Tina, as well as his sister, Lucy, his brother, Michael, and his grandparents, Darren and Sara Evans. His dog, Bruno, will also miss him and his hugs dearly… In lieu of flowers, Derek’s family is asking for donations to be sent to Special Olympics to help children with disabilities follow their dreams of playing sports…”
2. Example for a grown son
“James Chan passed away at the age of 29 on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. He was a talented writer who leaves behind two parents, Linda and Leslie, that love him more than words can express. He also leaves behind too many friends to list around Seattle and in his home state of Oregon.
“James was known for his enormous heart and his listening ear… A public memorial service will be held for James at Oregon State University’s north lawn on Saturday, August 8, 2020, at 11 a.m. His family encourages that everyone wears Oregon State’s colors…”
3. Example for a step-son
“Eric Lopez passed away at the age of 19 years old on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Though he left this world far too soon, he left this world a better place.
“He is survived by his father, Jeremy Orwell, his stepfather, Geoff Lopez, his mother, Grace Lopez, his brother, Troy Orwell, his step-sister, Jeni Lopez, and his step-brother, Marco Lopez. Eric was passionate about helping others and was planning to pursue a degree in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He eventually wanted to become a pediatrician…”
4. Example for a son, husband and/or father
“Charles Martin passed away at the age of 44 on Sunday, July 26, 2020. He was a humorous, loving son, husband, father, and friend to many. Charles is survived by his wife, Nancy, his sons, Charles II, Damian, and Tyler, and his parents, Tyrone and Susan. He will be missed on golf courses and basketball courts throughout North Carolina.
“His alma mater, the University of North Carolina, is to begin a scholarship in his honor to help low-income student-athletes in need. Charles was a professor at UNC’s business school. When he wasn’t helping students in the classroom, he was cracking jokes in the student union or assisting janitorial staff before or after hours. His catchphrase, as many who know and love him will tell you, was, “Don’t worry ‘bout it.” Charles exemplified what it meant to live life in the moment… His family will hold a public memorial at Magnolia Church on Sunday, August 23, 2020, at 1 p.m. All are welcome.”
5. Example for a son who died after a long illness
“Ross O’Connor passed away at the age of 32 in his home in Lansing, Michigan, on July 30, 2020. Ross lost his brave and long battle with cancer, but not without leaving his mark on this world. Ross is survived by… Ross is most well-known around his hometown of Lansing and in nearby hospitals for leading his nonprofit organization that connects children with cancer with adoptable animals.
“A funeral will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Sunday, August 16, 2020, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, Ross’ family is asking for donations to be made to the American Cancer Society.”
Quick Tips for Writing a Son’s Obituary
As you’re writing and reading over your son or step-son’s obituary, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you’re thinking that your son’s obituary is getting a little lengthy, you may have written more of a eulogy. But don’t worry — you can always save what you wrote to share at his funeral, memorial, vigil, or burial. Here’s a helpful post to figure out the difference between a eulogy and an obituary.
Verify all of the facts
Even if you know everything there is to know about your son or step-son, it’s important to verify everything you write in his obituary. Consult with a loved one, or at least read it over again yourself with a fine-toothed comb.
Fact-checking is especially important if you’re sending your son or step-son’s obituary to be printed somewhere. If you’re announcing your son’s death on social media, you may have some ability to edit, but you should avoid errors as much as possible as to not confuse anyone.
There are a few key facts (that should be easy enough to check) that should go at the very beginning of your son or step-son’s obituary.
- Your son or step-son’s full name
- His date of death
- How old he was
Include a summary
Though you won’t be able to include as much about your son or step-son’s life in an obituary as you would in a commemorative speech, for example, you can still provide a substantial amount of information. It’s often not so much about how much you can say, but the substance of what you can say. A good rule of thumb for summaries — especially if you’re unsure what to include — is to follow some sort of order. This can be chronological or simply in some sort of order of importance.
Remember the etiquette for predeceased family
It’s also expected for obituaries to have a section (or a sentence or two) dedicated to predeceased family members. Predeceased family members are also often listed with the phrase, “survived by.”
There is a particular order you should list family members in, and this is considered the standard and goes as follows:
- Extended family
We provided more detail about this list as well as more tips in our post about obituary etiquette for predeceased family members.
Don’t forget to give direction
This tip relates to the fact-checking one above. Obituaries serve an important purpose in giving basic biographical details about your son and your family. However, they also serve as a resource to get the word out about his funeral, memorial, vigil, burial, or any other type of service you may be holding in his honor.
Be sure to include not only the date and time of the service but also the address (if only in brief) as well as a point of contact, if needed. A point of contact, for example, may field requests for more information about your son’s service for you.
Obituaries are also the place to detail your son’s legacy. That is, what is a cause or organization that was important to him? How do people connect to this cause to make donations or volunteer? This is a common section where you may see the phrase, “in lieu of flowers,” and you may choose to make this request.
Weave in other details
Though we’ve discussed that obituaries are meant to be factual and practical, this doesn’t mean that they can’t have plenty of details that make it truly unique to your son or step-son. Try to include as many additional details as you can. You may even choose to include one of your son or step son’s favorite quotes, verses, sayings, catchphrases, or jokes.
Honoring Your Son or Step-Son Starts Here
An obituary may be the first step you take to announce or acknowledge your son or step-son’s death publicly. This can likely hit you pretty hard, as you’re forced to face the reality that he’s no longer here on earth with you.
Though that may be true, an obituary serves an important purpose in honoring your son or step-son’s memory and leaving his mark on the world. Recognize that there’s power in providing the highlights about your son or step-son’s life. Help the world see why he was much more than ordinary or more than a few facts and numbers on a page.