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Keys to a Memorable Obituary October 12, 2015

An obituary can be a simple notice of a death and funeral arrangements or it can be a tribute to a loved one’s life. A well-thought out, well-written obituary can bring a smile to the reader’s face or a tear to their eye. Sadly, a poorly written one, or one written under stress, can cause hard feelings that can last for years.

Writing an obituary is a significant responsibility, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting one. Here are a few keys to creating a memorable obituary.

  • Get the facts correct. This may sound a bit simplistic, but many well-written obituaries lose their luster with an inaccurate birth date, misspelled middle name, or improper church name. Check all dates, spellings and other information so that the obituary is 100% accurate.
  • Decide on what relatives will be named and why. With so many blended families, who and how relatives should be recognized is one of the more challenging aspects of writing obituaries. It is always best to think from the perspective of the deceased and the role those people played in their lives. An obituary should be a tribute to a life. It should not be a resource to put people in their place or exact revenge.
  • Know your subject well. Many times an obituary will highlight the achievements of a person’s working life, and that is understandable. However, a memorable obituary should be sure to include what was important to the deceased. Delivering mobile meals may have been more fulfilling for them then something they achieved in business. Seeing a granddaughter graduate from college may have been more rewarding than traveling the world.
  • Include examples. Rather than simply stating that a person was generous, give specific examples. “He generously gave of his time and resources by volunteering for A, B, and C and supported the work of organization X, Y and Z.”
  • Add personal insights. Obituaries have become much less formal than in previous years. If a person truly loved playing poker with his friends each week, it is worth mentioning. It is not uncommon for obituaries to include a love for a particular sports team or recreational activity. These touches can make an obituary more personal and memorable, especially for those who shared in, or witnessed the behavior.
  • Don’t focus on the final chapter. Many obituaries focus on the final few years of a deceased’s life, and that can be a shame. An obituary should be a reflection of the person’s entire life.
  • Don’t feel you need to go it alone. You may be able to start with a template, but ask family and friends for their input. Asking for help can take a lot of pressure off of you and ultimately create a more memorable obituary.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we understand every family, funeral, and obituary is unique. We will assist you in working through this challenging time to make sure your loved one is properly honored. We are here to help.

If you are in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and currently in need of assistance or are pre-planning, please contact us.