Obituaries are a time-honored tradition that provides an opportunity to celebrate remarkable lives. More than just an announcement of death, these written memorials show how much you cherish your loved ones through fond memories and the opportunity to share their stories. 

Obituaries are the intersection of fact and meaningful stories, providing a heartfelt way to invite others to celebrate your loved one’s incredible life, too. While many funeral homes will write obituaries as part of their services, writing an obituary yourself can be a thoughtful and impactful experience.

Family photos in a box.

Writing an obituary for a cremation service is similar to writing an obituary for a traditional funeral, with the addition of a few details. Together, we will journey through the process of creating an obituary for cremation. 

What Is an Obituary? 

Obituaries are different from eulogies and death notices. Longer than a death notice and shorter than a eulogy, obituaries inform the public about the passing of our loved ones and include details about their life. 

Death notices are short and concise statements about our loved one’s passing, including the details surrounding their funeral or memorial service. Death notices rarely convey emotion or provide information about a remarkable life. However, they do include useful information such as the date of death, the date of the celebration of life, and an address to receive condolences during this time of need. 

Eulogies are speeches that are given at a funeral or memorial service. These are often given by loving family members, high school friends, or beloved spouses. Eulogies are often lengthy remembrances, including fond memories of their life and celebrating the impact they are leaving behind. 

Flowers laid on a newspaper.

Obituaries are shorter announcements that appear online or in the newspaper. They spread the news of our loved one’s recent passing and invite those who knew them to attend their memorial service. Obituaries also include a section that sheds light on their unique story and legacy. 

When obituaries appeared in the newspaper, families had to pay to use the space per word. Therefore, obituaries were more concise. While some still use print as their mode of communication, many recent obituaries have since transitioned to social media. With this advancement, families now have the freedom to create longer and more heart-felt obituaries following the loss of a loved one without paying for a longer tribute. 

Why We Write Obituaries 

Writing an obituary serves multiple purposes: 

  • It notifies the public of your loved one’s passing. Obituaries are an important medium through which we spread news. It is the most time-effective way to let others know about the passing of a remarkable loved one. After someone close to us passes, we enter into the fast-paced world of funeral planning. This often leaves little time to reach out individually to everyone who has known and loved this incredible person. Obituaries communicate quickly the necessary information about our loved one’s passing on a mass scale. 
  • It provides funeral or memorial service information. Obituaries are often the most effective way of communicating funeral or memorial service information. It is quicker than personal phone calls or invitations and efficiently communicates details while taking time to share important information about our loved one’s life. 
  • It recounts important details of your loved one’s life that you would like the public to know. Obituaries share details about our loved one’s life that we desire to convey to the public so that we can share their incredible stories and celebrate their legacies. 

Details To Include in an Obituary

When writing an obituary, there are a few essential details you’ll want to include. 

Start by sharing your loved one’s name, including a maiden name, if applicable. Next, you may want to include their birthday and their place of birth. 

Other important information to add in an obituary can include:

  1. How old they were when they passed
  2. The date they died and the location of their passing
  3. The names of any surviving relatives
  4. Details about the funeral or memorial service 
  5. Where they lived

Once you have included this general information, you can begin to write from the heart. Include meaningful information about your loved one’s life, such as their time at the University of Minnesota, their dedication to the Catholic Church, or meeting their spouse on vacation in San Francisco.

You can include their hobbies or things that made them smile. You can mention just how loved they were by all that knew them. 

Other ideas when writing an obituary could be to include one of their favorite quotes or a meaningful piece of advice they gave you. You could also include their accomplishments and contributions to society or important parts of their life story. 

How Can I Write an Obituary for Cremation?

If your family has chosen a cremation service or direct cremation, your loved one’s obituary may include some different information. We will walk through the steps of writing an obituary for cremation: 

Person wearing bracelets, typing on a computer.

Step #1: Choose Your Medium

First, you need to choose if you will announce the cremation through the newspaper or online. This will determine your next steps and the length of the obituary. If you choose a newspaper, you will need to contact your local paper by phone. Ask them about their requirements and their pricing. 

If you choose to publish your obituary online, you can proceed at your own pace. The benefit of using social media to publish an obituary is that it is more unique to your voice, and you can share as much detail as you desire. It is more cost-effective, and you have greater control over what is published. Additionally, this medium is more likely to reach your community and your loved one’s friends and family members.

Step #2: Include General Information

Begin your obituary by including all the general information listed above about your loved one’s life. Like a standard obituary, this information is used as a practical tool to provide information on your loved one’s passing.

Step #3: Tell the Story of Their Life

Here, you can include as much detail about their lives as you would like. Share their major contributions or important stories from their life. Share the things you admire most about them and things about their life you hope to emulate. You know your remarkable loved one best, so you can choose how you celebrate their legacy.

Step #4: Include Information About Cremation

Writing an obituary for a funeral service requires that the funeral details be posted in the obituary. However, there are different things to consider when it comes to cremation. 

If you are choosing cremation without a ceremony, you can include the date of cremation and ask friends and other family members to keep you in their thoughts as you take your loved one to be cremated. 

If there is a viewing before the cremation, you can include the date, time, and location of the viewing so that friends and family can join. Include the date of the actual cremation to keep everyone informed. 

If your loved one wanted an ash-scattering ceremony, include details about that as well. You can share the date, time, and location as well as how you plan to scatter the ashes. You can include your loved one’s wishes or the reason for choosing a certain ash-scattering ceremony. Some families also choose to hold a ceremony using ashes in a decorative urn rather than a casket, and this information can be relayed here as well.


Writing an obituary can be a meaningful step in your healing journey. It is not only an effective way to communicate information about a loved one’s passing, but it also allows you to share stories about your loved one’s impact. It is a way of honoring their memory and sharing their legacy that many will cherish for years to come. 


How to Write an Obituary | Currie Funeral Home

How to Write a Memorable Obituary for a Loved One | AARP

How to Write a Great Obituary | Funeral Basics