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 an emailed copy or a saved copy on a USB..
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, once you have an idea of what you want to publish, we will submit it and get a cost for you. Should you wish to make any changes to reduce costs, we can do so at that time and resubmit.
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
Families usually want to state the deceased’s full name, along with their dates of birth and death, however, because of fraud and identity theft, this is not recommended. You may wish to consider placing a photograph (which can appear in black and white or colour) along with the text for an additional charge.
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:
- Spouse/partner, children and/or stepchildren (with their spouses’/partners’ names also noted in brackets, if applicable)
- Half and step siblings
- Surviving in-laws
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.
Provide details of the scheduled services, including the time, date and address. These may include the funeral, visitations, burial and memorial service as applicable. We do not recommend adding that there will be a reception. Sometimes unwanted guests may attend only for lunch and may not be part of the service.
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….”
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.
Take into consideration when and in which newspapers (both local and out of town) you wish your funeral director to publish the obituary.
- “It is with great sadness that the family of (deceased name) announce (his/her) passing….”
- “(Deceased name) will be sadly missed by ….”
- “Fondly remembered by….”
- “Forever remembered by….”
- “Lovingly remembered by….”
- “Wife/husband and best friend of (number) years….”
- “A Celebration of (deceased’s name) life will be held on….”
Below please find a structured sample of the correct way an Obituary should be formulated
How to Write an Obituary
LAST NAME, first name middle name (Nee:____)
Date of Birth – Date of Death
Ideas for the Beginning Paragraph
- On (day, date), (full name of deceased) of (city of residence) passed away at the age of ____ years.
- The family of (full name of deceased) of (city of residence) is saddened to announce his/her passing on (day, date) at the age of _____ years.
- Our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt and friend,
- (full name of deceased) passed away with her family by her side on (day, date) at the age of ____ years.
- Following a lengthy battle with __________, (full name of deceased) of (city of residence) passed away on (day, date) at the age of ____ years.
- It is with deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of _______________, of (city of residence) on (day, Date), at the age of _____ years.
- It is with profound sadness that the family of _____________ announce his/her peaceful passing on (day, date) at the age of ____ years.
- Peacefully and surrounded by his/her family, mom/dad passed away on (day, date) at the age of ______ years.
Always list family members in the following manner: spouse, children in birth order, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers, sisters, other relatives and friends. Some people will state the number of grandchildren instead of listing them all. For example: 15 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren.
- He/She will be lovingly remembered by his/her husband of _____ years, Jim; children: John (wife’s name) and Doris (husband’s name); grandchildren: _________, ____________, ____________, and ___________; brother, Michael (wife’s name) last name; sister-in-law, Diane last name; as well as numerous relatives and friends.
- She will also be dearly missed by her friends at the _____________
- (name of group or location example: Seniors Center)
She was predeceased by her loving husband of ____ years, (name); son, (name); brother, (name); and her parents: (name and name).
Fourth Paragraph — Optional
Some families like to tell a bit of story about where they were born, the person’s accomplishments, when they moved into the area, what groups they were involved in, their hobbies, and any military history.
- A Visitation / Prayer Service will be held at (time), on (day, date) , at location and address of funeral home or Church.
- A Funeral Mass (Funeral Service, Memorial Service, Celebration of Life, etc) will be held at (time), on (day, date), at _________________________, (full address).
- A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.
- A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
- A private service will be held at the family’s request.
- At (name of deceased)‘s request, no service will be held.
Six Paragraph — Optional
Memorial Donations may be made in (name of the deceased)’s name to __________ (Full name of Charity), _______________(full address including postal code).
Seventh Paragraph — Optional
The family wishes to send a special thank you to the staff at the ____________ (name of hospital or seniors center) for their care and compassion.
The following are three fictitious examples of obituaries:
It is with great sadness that the family of Leanna Woodward (née Ware) announce her sudden passing on Thursday, February 10, 2039 at the age of 96.
Leanna will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 75 years, Marvin; children, Bethany (Shabaz), Chantelle (Kieran), Marvin Jr. (Kathleen), Abraham (Sara); grandchildren, Oscar (Daisy), Diana, Will, Joyce (Bob), Anne (Peter); great-grandchildren, Chance (Megan), Maria; siblings, Gus (Margaret), Bridget (John); and numerous other family members and friends.
Leanna was predeceased by her parents, Yannis and Hazel; siblings, Benjamin, Luke, Eve; and infant daughter, Martha.
A Prayer Service will be held on Friday, February 18, 2039 at 7:00 p.m., at Connelly-McKinley St. Albert, 9 Muir Drive, St. Albert.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, February 19, 2039 at 10:00 a.m., at Holy Family Catholic Church, 75 Poirier Ave, St. Albert.
Memorial Donations in Leanna’s name may be made to the Edmonton Humane Society, 13620 163 St. NW, Edmonton, AB T5V 0B2.
The family of Anthony “Tony” Tisi announce his passing on April 30, 2040 after a brief battle with cancer.
Tony will be remembered by his wife and two children, as well as numerous other family members and friends. Tony was predeceased by his father, and sister.
A private family service will take place later this year.
The family would like to thank Dr. Glover and his staff at the Cross Cancer Institute for their care of Tony.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cross Cancer Institute, 11560 University Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 1Z2.
Florence “Flo” Leonard (née DeGraaf) passed away peacefully the morning of Wednesday, November 19, 2042, with the love of her family surrounding her.
Flo was born in Utrecht, Netherlands in 1955 to John and Sarah. She received a degree in nursing and then immigrated to Edmonton to be with her brothers, Thomas, Elijah and Mason. While working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital she met the love of her life and best friend, Dr. William “Bill” Leonard. They would marry in 1981.
Flo would go on to join Bill in travelling to Uganda for Doctors without Borders in December of 1981 where they spent a year. Flo and Bill welcomed daughter, Jane, in 1983 followed shortly by son, William Jr., in 1984. Flo was a devoted wife and mother as well as an active member of the United Nurses of Alberta Board. Flo was a woman of many passions including, fishing, knitting, skiing, and later on in life, her grandchildren.
She will be missed by her husband of 61 years, Bill; children, Jane (Robert), William Jr. (Samantha); grandchildren, Opal (Jack), Hugo, George (Amy), William III, Adeline (Timothy), Poppy (Chris); one great-grandchild, Mason; as well as numerous extended family members and friend.
Flo was predeceased by her parents, John and Sarah; siblings, Thomas, Mason, Stephanie; and niece, Kara.
A Celebration of Flo’s Life will be held on Friday, November 28, 2042, at 11:00 a.m., at the Oasis Center, 10930 177 St NW, Edmonton. An interment will follow at Beechmount Cemetery, 12420 104 St NW, Edmonton.
Memorial donations may be made to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, 10240 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB, T5H 3V9 or to Doctors without Borders, 551 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 0N8.