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Why Do We Have Obituaries? December 11, 2018

Obituaries have evolved tremendously through the years, altered by morals and trends of the day and available technology. In the United States, for example, our early limited printed capabilities kept newspapers to a maximum of four sheets. Space limitations meant early obituaries were simple death notices, listing the name of the deceased but few other details. With the introduction of the lino-type printing presses in the late 1800’s, obituaries became more extensive and even creative. Of course, newspapers have always been a main source for obituaries but small towns without daily newspapers would often post them in a storefront window or other locations in town. Today, obituaries can easily be found online.

Obituaries generally include the name and age of the deceased, living and deceased family members, and hi-lights of the person’s educational, career, military and social involvements. Many include more personal insights into what the person cared about in life and may even include humor.

Why Obituaries are Important

Obituaries are important for several reasons. They allow a family to reach out to a community at large, letting those who may not have personal knowledge of a death to get final arrangement information and be notified of the death. It also serves to bring closure to a family, allowing them to write the last chapter in the life of a loved one. They also serve to enlighten others about what the deceased enjoyed and what and who was important to them in life.

Why People Read Obituaries

People read obituaries for a variety of reasons, including staying informed. If a visible community member or acquaintance passes, we have an innate desire to know about it. Most of us know someone who has proclaimed and one time or another that “I read them to make sure my name isn’t listed.”

Who Writes Obituaries?

Obituaries were initially written by writers at a newspaper, especially when more famous members of a community passed. Funeral directors began offering the service, and while many still do, more and more are being written by a family member with guidance from a funeral director.

Where Should an Obituary be Placed?

This will obviously be left to the family, but common locations are in the deceased’s current town of residence newspaper, and perhaps in newspapers where they may have spent a significant part of their lives. Newspapers will also generally make them available in their online editions. At Fares J. Radel, we also include obituaries on our own website.

A well-written obituary can help an family heal. It can offer more details of a person’s life that others may not have known. It allows a family to have the final word in telling the significant, and sometimes, small details of a person’s life.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, our caring team of experienced professionals will be honored to guide you through the process of writing an obituary. We can help you avoid some common and sometimes embarrassing errors and omissions. If you are preplanning a funeral, we can help you convey important aspects of your life to your loved ones to be included in your own obituary.

Should you have questions, please feel free to contact us.

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