How to Write an Obituary for a Union Leader: Step-by-Step


An obituary is a meaningful way to honor someone when they’re gone. As a union leader, it’s important to acknowledge someone’s career and role in the workplace. Union leaders aren’t just partners of the people. They also fight for equality, fairness, productivity, and benefits for workers of all backgrounds. With that in mind, how do you write an obituary for a union leader?

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While it’s not always easy to know how to write an obituary, it’s even more complicated to write one for someone with such a huge responsibility. Unions are the backbone of the economy. A strong union takes strong leadership, and that’s why you should go beyond a basic employee death announcement.

Whether you’re writing an obituary for a loved one, friend, or colleague, you want to handle this process with care. It’s true that obituaries are for the living, but they’re also an act of remembrance. What would the union leader want the world to know about them? More importantly, what aspects of their legacy should live on for years to come?

Writing an obituary is no easy task, but it’s an important one. In this guide, we’ll share how to write an obituary for a union leader. This step-by-step guide is here to challenge you to use the obituary as a chance to paint a portrait of someone’s life rather than simply announce a death. 

What Should You Include in an Obituary for a Union Leader?

Because most people don’t write obituaries often, it can be confusing to know where to begin. There are some things that are commonly included in an obituary, and some special things to add for a union leader in particular. Here’s what you should have in your obituary for a union leader. 

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Basic facts

To begin, you’ll want to share the basic facts about the deceased. These are the basic facts that help identify the deceased. You can include as little or as much as you feel comfortable with. It’s common to include a variation of the following:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • City the deceased lived at their time of death
  • Cause of death (optional)

For the cause of death, you can decide whether or not you want to protect the family’s privacy around this issue. There are many reasons to include the cause of death, but this is never required or expected. 

Summary of personal life

Next, it’s important to provide a brief summary of their personal life. This doesn’t need to be every single detail. It should have the key facts to paint a clear picture of the deceased’s life. It’s common to include information about their marriages, education, children, and surviving loved ones. 

It’s considered proper obituary etiquette to include relatives of the deceased. This usually has their closest surviving relatives, like their parents, children, siblings, and spouse/partner. 

Career highlights

Because this is an obituary for a union leader, it’s essential to share the top highlights related to his or her career. This can be told in chronological order, or it can also focus on key moments. Explain the deceased’s relation to the union, how they gained their leadership position, and any important accolades.

For the career highlight section, it’s also valuable to share perspectives from those who know the deceased personally or worked with them. If their work is being continued, share who will be following in their footsteps. This is especially relevant if the obituary is to be published in a workplace newsletter or union catalog. 

Funeral or memorial details

Last but not least, list the details for the funeral or memorial service. If there’s a reception or service for the public, include the name and address. It’s also commonplace for those who knew and worked with the deceased to send flowers to the family or make a donation in their honor. 

If the family wishes for flowers, donations, or anything else, this should be listed in the obituary. All of these details are listed last, if applicable. It’s also completely acceptable to keep the service details private for family only. 

Steps for Writing an Obituary for a Union Leader

Next, it’s time to start writing an obituary. While there are obituary template examples online, you can also write an obituary completely from scratch. Following the steps below guides you through the process no matter your experience level. 

1.  Announce the death

The first step in writing an obituary is to announce the death of the individual. This is when you share the name and a brief description of when and where they passed. This can be a single sentence. For example, “On Saturday, August 28, 2021, John Doe passed away in Albany, NY, at the age of 70.” 

2. Share their biography

Next, share a general biography of the deceased. This includes information about their birth date, upbringing, marriage, education, and accomplishments. Depending on how much space you have available, you can go into greater detail. It’s important to paint a clear image of this person’s life and legacy. 

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3. Explain their professional impact

As a union leader, this individual likely had a large role within their industry or community. Share how they became a union leader, who they worked with, and how they created an impact. If they won any awards or special recognition, explain this here. Don’t shy away from highlighting just how special their achievements were within their union space. 

4. List family members

Another important part of the obituary is listing any surviving family members. This doesn’t mean you have to list every single family member by name, but it’s important to share any important people in their lives. You can list close family members by name, including their parents, children, spouse/partner, and so on. 

Because you’re writing a professional obituary for a union leader, you might also wish to include any individuals key in their career. This might be a mentor, colleague, leader, or assistant. Again, this is up to the discretion of the writer. 

5. Share funeral information

One of the final steps of writing the obituary is to share any funeral or memorial information. You might list the date or time of the funeral service, especially if it’s open to the public. If there’s a union-specific memorial service or page, include information about this. 

This is also when you’ll share if the family wishes to receive flowers, donations, or something else. You can ask for special condolences, well-wishes, and legacy information to honor the deceased. 

6. Review for mistakes

Before you submit your obituary, review it for mistakes. It’s always important to check our work and check it again. Beyond reading it yourself, have someone else read it to make sure details are accurate. Because many obituaries are written during times of grief, you might need to check it at a later time to make sure it’s ready for publication. 

7. Submit the obituary

Lastly, it’s time to submit the obituary. There are a lot of places you can submit the obituary for a union leader. Some places are more personal, while others are appropriate for professional settings. In this day and age, you have a lot of options for where to submit the obituary after someone’s death. 

Example Obituaries for a Union Leader

Because writing an obituary can be challenging, let these examples lead the way. By reading through example obituaries for union leaders, it’s easy to understand how these tell a full life story of someone’s achievements. 

Example for a union leader who was a parent or grandparent

Janet Smith, 80, of sunny St. Augustine, Florida, passed away on March 10, surrounded by her friends and family after a fight with cancer. Janet, born on January 10, 1950, to Jane and Mark Smith in Austin, Texas, brought happiness and compassion into the world. After graduating as an honor student from the University of Texas, she became a leading administrator at her local bank. 

Her winning smile and compassion for others attracted the attention of the Texas Financial Teller Union. After transferring to a Florida branch to be close with her first husband, Jean Frank, she quickly became one of the most respected union leaders in the state until she retired in 2010. Janet is survived by her daughter, Patricia Laurence. Her family will honor her life at Christ Church on March 15 and invite all to join. 

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Example for a union leader who had a partner or spouse

Travis Dean, age 50, died this past weekend at his home in Macon, Georgia. Travis was born in 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia. He met his wife, Stacey, at Atlanta High the year before graduation. After spending time serving in the Army, he joined his family in Macon, Georgia to help with his father’s auto shop. This is where he discovered his passion for working on machines, eventually becoming active in his city’s mechanics union. His work inspired the whole community, and his wife is creating a union scholarship in his honor. 

Example for a union leader who did not have a spouse or children

John Smith passed this month on July 10, 2021. An active union leader, John was planning to retire in 2024. He completed over 25 years working for the Austin Professional Union, and his work was admired across the state. Predeceased by his parents, Debrah and Leon Smith, John’s legacy will be remembered by all. 

Where Can You Post or Submit an Obituary for a Union Leader?

With that in mind, where can you post an obituary for a union leader? Beyond online memorial sites, there are so many places to share someone’s obituary with the world. Here are some of the most well-known spaces. 


First, the most commonplace to submit an obituary for a union leader is in a newspaper. Traditionally, newspapers were used to spread news locally about a death. Even in modern times, you can submit your obituary to a local paper, industry newspaper, or union newsletter. To submit an obituary to a newspaper, check with the editor for their specific guidelines. 

Online memorial website

Another option is to use an online memorial website. This is a type of online platform specifically for sharing online memorials. Because it’s completely digital, this usually has fewer limitations with word count, photos, and more. 

Social media

Finally, it’s becoming more common than ever to share obituaries on social media. Social media websites are a great way to stay connected with others, and you can also update members of a community quickly. Social media websites like Facebook and Instagram are commonly used for sharing obituaries and death announcements. 

Honor a Union Leader

Everyone deserves to be remembered. Union leaders are activists in their community, and it’s important to make sure their legacy lives on. Writing an obituary for a union leader doesn’t have to be complicated, though it can be intimidating. 

Luckily, this guide is here to help. Going through each step ensures you honor someone’s work, service, and compassion. An obituary isn’t just for the dead. It’s also a helpful way for the grieving to connect, remember, and share.


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