A No-Nonsense Outline For Writing Inspiring And Authentic Obituaries

How do you want to be remembered? 

Obituaries are meant to capture a person’s life, yet often, they are written in a rush and can read as bland and impersonal, like the obituary below:

Other obituaries, however, can make a lasting impact, like this humorous one below:

As you can see, the difference between an impersonal obituary and a truly authentic one is HUGE.

But how do you make time to write an epic obit? Between all the arrangements you have to manage as a funeral director, finding time to write an inspiring and personalized obituary may seem impossible.

These days with tools like social memorial websites, where friends and family come together online to honor and remember the dearly departed, it is especially important to make sure obituaries are thoughtful and truly reflect the one of a kind personality of the departed. 

Many people will read the obituary as they come to the website. And a well written obituary will inspire visitors to take a moment and reflect and honor the loved one. And in turn, they’ll encourage others to do the same, and share their favorite memories and connect with one another.

Check out the example below to see what we mean:

More and more families are looking for unique and memorable funeral services, and that includes obituaries that leave a lasting impression. 

We’ve created these interview questions and outline to help you get the family connected with writing the obituary. Not only does family involvement create a truly genuine and touching obituary, but it also helps free up your time to attend to other pressing matters. 

Consider using this as a pre-need offering as well! Some of the best obituaries are actually written by the deceased themselves. This is a great way for families to know their loved one will be remembered the way they truly want, plus everyone gets a chance to share stories and spend time together reflecting on a life well lived.

Interview questions for family members

You can send home these questions for families to take their time answering, or offer the personal touch of sitting down with them and asking them about their dearly departed:

    1. How would you describe the loved one’s personality? Did they have a loud sense of humor? Quiet and kind? Chatty social butterfly? Stoic and dependable?
    2. What were they passionate about? Any favorite hobbies or activities?
    3. How would you describe the impact they had upon you? 
    4. What about the impact they had on their community?
    5. What accomplishments in life were they most proud of? This can be awards and honors, but also consider moments like starting a family, traveling, their beautiful garden and home. 
    6. Who would they want to mention and thank? Family members, mentors, friends, people who had a meaningful connection or influenced them. Talk about what their relationship to the departed was like.
    7. What is your favorite memory of the deceased?
    8. Most importantly, how would they want to be remembered?


Next up: The outline for an outstanding obituary

Now that we have some personalized and detailed information, we can translate that into a wonderful memorial piece using this outline as a guide. Keep in mind that the tone of the obituary should reflect the personality of the loved one. If they had a big sense of humor infuse that into the writing! This will help the obituary really reflect the person you are writing about:

Part #1: The details of the departed 

      • Name
      • Dates of Birth & Death
      • Use questions 1 & 2 to paint a picture of how the loved one presented themselves to the world, what was their personality like?


Part #2: The life they lead

      • Here we talk about how they lived – what they accomplished and how they impacted others. 
      • Use questions 3 – 5 to describe how others experienced them,  the lasting impression they left upon their community. Mention proud moments of accomplishment!


Part 3: Those they shared their life with

      • Here we can share who impacted them in their lifetime. Surviving family, meaningful mentors, the dearly beloved.
      • Use question 6 to acknowledge those that meant the most to the departed.


Part 4: The legacy they want to leave behind

      • How does the departed want to be remembered?
      • Use questions 7 & 8 to conclude with memories of the departed that reflect their legacy and eternal impact they left upon the world. 
      • Invite others to the memorial. Include the date, time and location of services.


Let your obituaries live on an engaging website platform

Now that you’ve written a touching, personal, and one of kind obituary, it’s time to make sure it lives in the right place. Your obituaries should be a life long, interactive memorial for families. Want to offer your families this unique offering? 

Try f1Connect, the funeral profession’s most comprehensive all-in-one website platform. Click here  or give us a call at 1-800-798-2575 to talk to one of our Funeral Success Specialists today!


What are some of the most touching obituaries you’ve read or written? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Rochelle Rietow


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