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Writing an Obituary

The following is a guide to composing an obituary. One of our Funeral Directors will assist with any final touches, as well as ensuring that the obituary is published in any newspaper you request.

To avoid any mistakes, you should print rather than write the draft out by hand. If you are typing the obituary, please provide Connelly-McKinley with a hard copy as well as a saved copy on either a disk or CD.

Click here to read sample obituaries.

What is an Obituary?

An obituary is often the first thing people read in the newspaper each day - and, for many, it will likely be the last thing written about their lives. More than merely a "goodbye" to the deceased, it is a farewell detailing their life in chronological order. An obituary also serves as notification that an individual has passed away and provides information on any services that are scheduled to take place. Since the cost of running an obituary generally varies by length, it is best to be aware of the "line rate" for each paper you want the obituary to appear in before you begin your composition.

People often save obituaries as remembrances of someone they loved, so make sure that the final product is something worthy of a scrapbook and - more importantly - worthy of your loved one's memory.

What Should Be Included?

Standard pieces of information to include are the announcement, biographical, scheduled services and memorials

Announcement

Naturally, it is important to state the deceased's full name, along with their dates of birth and death. You may wish to consider placing a photograph (which can appear in black and white) along with the text for an additional charge.

Biographical Information

Recount, in a concise manner, the significant events in the life of the deceased. This may include the schools he or she attended and any degrees attained as well as their vocations or interests.

Survivors and Predeceased Information

It is customary to list family members who have survived the deceased, as well as immediate family members who predeceased him or her, including:

These surviving relatives should be listed by name. Other relatives need not be mentioned by name but may be referenced in terms of their relationship to the deceased: for example, the obituary may say that the deceased leaves behind five grandchildren, seven nieces, etc.

Scheduled Services

Provide details of the scheduled services, including the time, date and address. These may include the funeral, visitations, burial and memorial service as applicable.

Memorials

Give the name and mailing address of a foundation or society to which you wish to direct any memorial donations made in honour of your loved one. The decision as to which foundation or society to support may be based upon interests or values that your loved one expressed during life or related to a medical condition which he or she had.

We recommend you refrain from using the phrase "in lieu of flowers" when requesting memorial donations. Instead, start the final paragraph of the obituary with the words "Memorial donations may be made to...."

Final Considerations

All information included in the obituary should be verified with another family member. Have them assist you in confirming the dates, those who should be mentioned, correct spelling of names and the details of the scheduled funeral service.

If you are having trouble getting started, read other obituaries (Click here to see samples)

Take into consideration when and in which newspapers (both local and out of town) you wish your funeral director to publish the obituary.

Suggested wording:

Obituary Samples

The following are three fictitious examples of obituaries:

Jasko, William Blake

It is with great sadness that the family of William Blake Jasko announces his passing after a brief illness, on Saturday, April 3, 2002, at the age of 70 years.

Bill will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 50 years, Ann and his children, Mike (Judy), Brad (Jill), Sue (Dan) Armandeau, and Ryan (Heidi). Bill will also be fondly remembered by his eight grandchildren, Brandy, Kala, Jack, Phillip, Jonah, Mackenzie, Paul and Austin, by his sisters, Ann (Joe) Kispinski, Eileen Rudolph and by sister-in-law Anne Jasko. Bill was predeceased by his brother Anton Jasko.

A Funeral Service in memory of Bill will be held on Thursday, April 7, at 1:00 p.m., at the Sherwood Park Presbyterian Church, 265 Fir Street, Sherwood Park, with Rev. Glenn Ball officiating. Interment will follow in the family plot at South Haven Cemetery.

Those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Bill to the (name and mailing address of foundation/society).

Keen, Andrea (nee Goreman)

On Monday, February 3, 2001 Andrea Keen wife, mother, daughter and sister, passed away suddenly at the age of 36 years. Andrea will be forever remembered by her husband and best friend Greg, and their precious children, Cody and Pamela, by her parents Jack and Ann Goreman, and by her brothers and sisters Andrew (Jill), Ken (Hope), Kim (Justin) Halow and Tianna (Wade) O'Halen. Andrea will also be forever remembered by her numerous nieces, nephews and extended family and dear friends.

A Prayer Service will be held on Thursday, February 6, at 7:00 p.m., at Connelly-McKinley St. Albert Chapel, 9 Muir Street, St. Albert.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in memory of Andrea on Friday, February 7, at 10:00 a.m., at Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Albert, with F. Shayne Craig presiding.

Memorial donations in memory of Andrea may be made to (name and mailing address of foundation/society).

Wallace, Colin "Sage"

Colin Wallace, known to friends as "Sage," passed away on September 4, 2000, at the age of 78 years.

A native of Mornville, Sage attended the University of Alberta, graduated with a degree in law and practiced in the St. Albert area prior to being appointed to the bench of the Alberta Supreme Court.

In 1949, he began his law career with Scadinler and Louch where he was to spend his entire time in private practice. He was appointed Crown Attorney in 1958 and Justice of Family Court in 1962, serving in this capacity until 1967 when he was appointed as a Justice of the Alberta Supreme Court.

Sage served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the 1975 Commonwealth Games and Parkinson's Research Foundation, as well as chair of the Alberta Toastmasters for three years.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary (nee Brodeur), sons Colin, Jr. and Adam, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

A Celebration of Sages life will be held on Monday, September 7, at 9 a.m. at the Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, 10011 - 114 Street, Edmonton, with Rev. Jack O'Grady officiating.

Memorial donations in memory of Sage can be made to (name and mailing address of foundation/society).

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