When a loved one passes away, writing their obituaries can be challenging and can often get lost among all the other obligations. There are professional writers that write obituaries but most family members want to make it more personal, and therefore write it themselves. In a previous blog – “Writing an Obituary: Everything you Need to Know” – we shared step-by-step directions for writing obituaries. If you’ve already read that guide and are now looking for examples of great obituaries, this article is for you.
If you’ve done a search on the internet for examples of obituaries, you may have come across articles that list “top ten most amazing obituaries” and so on. These lists often focus on obituaries that tell some sort of a story and are a bit longer. You will see examples like these here too but it’s also important to remember that obituaries can be short and simple. Here are three examples of shorter obituaries that are well-written:
“Elaine Richardson passed away in the Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center on the evening of January 15, 2019, at the age of 72.
Elaine will be greatly missed for her silly sense of humor and the kindness she showed to all. Everyone who knew and loved her is welcome to pay respects during her funeral service at Lakeview Cemetery on 455 North Ave, Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, January 19 at 3 p.m.”
“Steven Davis, May 23, 1946 – August 11, 2020, Princeton, NJ
Steve – a loving father to two children, a loyal husband, and a kind friend to all who knew him – lived a life well worth remembering. He was passionate about all-things baseball and putting together complicated puzzles of the most famous American buildings. His loved ones have decided to keep the funeral services private but those who wish to honor his life can make a donation to The Miracle League.”
“Dr. Donna Lopez, 91, died peacefully in her sleep on March 3, 2020, in Nyack, NY.
Donna was born on September 30, 1934, in Antioch, CA to Fred and Naya Lopez. She completed her undergraduate studies and went on to obtain her medical degree at New York University in 1960. While completing her residency, she met the love of her life and best friend – Colin Moore, marrying him in the Spring of 1961. Together, they raised three children with unconditional love and care. Donna is survived by his husband, their children, and their grandchildren.
Donna’s funeral services are scheduled for Sunday, March 8, 4:00 p.m. at the Hannemann Funeral Home. A reception will follow and all are welcome to attend and celebrate her life.”
If you are looking to write something more personal, here is a great example of obituaries that are longer and incorporate more storytelling:
“Marina (Mari) Saltarelli passed away peacefully the morning of Thursday, December 12, 2019. She died surrounded by her loving family and friends.
Mari was born in Parma, Italy in 1955 to Bianca and Theodore. After her father passed away, Mari and her mother made their way across the ocean to New Jersey, a state they both loved almost as much as Italy. Mari completed a nursing degree at William Patterson University and is preceded in death by her life-long partner Julia who she met while working at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
Mari and Julia traveled together to Italy each summer, stuffing their suitcases with parmesan cheese and Italian dessert wine before coming back from the vacations. Though they had no biological children, the couple were mothers to many, including the young patients they cared for at the hospital.
Marina was a woman of many passions. She loved knitting, swimming, playing her guitar, and writing ridiculous songs. She will be greatly missed by her loved ones, family, and friends.
A celebration of Marina’s life will be held on Friday, December 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the G Thomas Gentile Funeral Home in Hackensack, NJ.
Memorial donations may be made to the Hackensack University Medical Center, 30 Prospect Ave, Hackensack, NJ.”
If you want to write a touching obituary, there are only two requirements – write about the small details that made the person who they were and write from the heart. Here’s an example you might find helpful.
“Frederick “Fritz” Taylor, II, 74, passed away at his home on October 21, 2019.
On February 2, 1945, a baby was welcomed by a snowstorm to Chicago, Illinois. His parents, Kathleen and Robert, knew he was extraordinary early on but their suspicions were confirmed when Fritz entered a deep-dish pizza eating contest at the age of 14 and came second. In pizza and food, he found his passion.
During his high school years, Fritz captained the football team and earned multiple awards in track. After high school, Fritz was recruited by Boston College and excelled there as well, finding life-long friends. Fritz graduated college with Summa Cum Laude honors and a degree in Business. He was a dedicated member of a consulting firm for several years, but on his 30th birthday, he decided to follow his dreams.
Fritz opened his pizzeria after three years of meticulous planning and it instantly became a staple in his neighborhood. For more than four decades, Fritz used his special dough rolling technique almost every day, baking each pizza with love. Compliments from his customers – old and new – had him smiling for days and friends never went for longer than a week without dining at Fritz’s. His passing will leave an unrepairable void in all corners of our community.
Fritz’s kindness and love for meeting new people, his unbridled enthusiasm when it came to strangers’ stories, and infectious laughter made sure that Fritz will be missed by those who knew him well and those who met him only once. Befriending people was his thing and Fritz found himself all over the world through those connections. He journeyed across China, Pakistan, Armenia, Italy, and the Netherlands, picking up food-souvenirs for his magnificent display in each place. Fritz road tripped all over the U.S. and even when he began to feel weaker, he continued to cross off different states from his bucket list.
He is survived by a myriad of loved ones, family members, close friends, and his true love – his pizza restaurant.
Visiting Hours will be held on Saturday, October 25 from 2-5 PM and Sunday, October 26 from 9-11 AM at Saint James Chapel, 835 N Rush St, Chicago. Everyone who wishes to attend is invited and those who want to celebrate Fritz’s life can always swing by his restaurant.”
Years ago, obituaries allowed no space for humor. Today, funny obituaries go viral constantly. Obituaries are no longer restricted to just facts of a person’s life. If you are choosing to honor your loved one by celebrating them with humor, the following examples might give you some ideas:
“Bryce Leonard Morris, age 80, decided to embark on a new journey on Saturday, June 20, 2018. He left behind a surprisingly calm wife – Joanne, and two sons who now are a bit suspicious of their mother. After all, she inherits his magnificent collection of ball-point pens, 23 baseball caps, and a whole pantry shelf of Kraft’s Mac and Cheese – items anyone would kill for.
Bryce is preceded in death by his parents Bernie and Lauren Morris, daughter Penelope Morris, brother Keith Morris, and the television set he never got around to fixing.
Bryce graduated from a small high school in Gary Indiana, one that shall not be named because he absolutely despised his time there. His biggest regret was getting an A in junior year math. He met Joanne at 19 and convinced her to marry him by – presumably – telling her he would be collecting Kraft’s Mac and Cheese for the next several decades.
Bryce was a volunteer in the U.S. Army and more importantly, he helped his daughter set up baking fundraisers regularly. Unfortunately, he also coached his sons’ baseball team and was very passionate about the distinctions between winners and losers.
He retired after 39 years of working at a firm that will also remain nameless because we have no idea what it was called or what he did there. We do know that it was mostly boring and required him to interact with people – something he complained about often.
Outside of his job, Bryce enjoyed many things. These included Fleetwood Mac, drinking extremely colorful cocktails, shopping at target, deep-frying a turkey, and books about the American Revolution. He consistently terrified neighborhood children with extravagant Halloween displays and sang the theme tune to “Cheers” exclusively when cooking bacon.
Bryce hated our neighbor’s cat with a passion but was frequently seen playing with one of the kittens that his sons brought home without his permission. He was blissfully unaware of all pop culture and could never remember Jackie O. Kennedy’s maiden name, something that bothered him deeply.
Bryce decided to accept the afterlife’s offer of eternal peace and unlimited mojitos early on Saturday morning. He died firmly believing that ‘nipped it in the bud’ was actually ‘nipped it in the butt.‘
Thanks are due to the amazing nurses and staff at the Community Heart and Vascular Hospital, who made sure Bryce was comfortable during his move from this world to the next.
Those who wish to, are welcome to visit his family at their home on Sunday, June 21 from 10:00 until noon, attend the funeral service at G H Herrmann Funeral Home and join the reception after.
Bryce had no favorite charity (just a favorite bar), so memorial donations can be made to wherever you deem appropriate.”
Obituaries for Parents
If your parent has passed away, maybe these obituaries will make the process of writing easier.
“Caroline Penny Gordon left us on August 2, 2019, after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 54 years old.
Penny, as friends called her, or mom, as I did, fought so hard to her last minute, it would be wrong to say that she lost her battle. She was determined to stay with her children, remained positive – more positive than I could ever have asked her to be, showed unbelievable resilience and perseverance that her grandchildren will carry with them for years to come. She showed me and all those around her what strength really is. Though she can no longer wrap me in her signature bear hug, mom remains forever in my heart.
Penny was an admirable person. Before she had children, she made sure to travel the world, met people who came from all walks of life, and collected as many stories as possible to tell her future grandkids. When she decided to settle down, she was an exceptional wife and mother. She cared for her family and those around her with awe-inspiring devotion. She was the one neighbors came to with their problems. She was always ready to offer a kind word or a shoulder to cry on. Mom was simply an amazing person.
Penny is preceded in death by her husband John. She lives on in the memories of her two children and five grandchildren. Her family invites you to join us for a memorial service at Dodsworth Funeral Home on Thursday at 6 p.m.”
“Dean Everett, 68, passed away on July 1, 2017, in Seattle Washington, surrounded by family and friends.
When I asked Dean’s loved ones how they would remember him, opinion was strongly divided. Some thought of him as a class clown character, always joking around. Others knew him as a wise grandfather who gave great advice and never let them win at chess. I knew dad as many people rolled into one. He was incredibly intelligent and amazingly stupid all at once. He loved reading Dostoyevsky but never figured out how to use our microwave properly.
He was, simply put, a well-rounded human and a natural storyteller. He told stories like no one else. They were often so interesting that his grandchildren refused to go to sleep without a call to their grandfather. He would sit by the phone patiently, spinning yarns. He would ask the children for a word and then think up a story just from that.
After he was hospitalized, dad kept his love for life, and even during his last days, he had enough energy to tell stories.
The memorial service will be held on Friday, July 2 at 12 p.m. at the Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home. The family asks that those who are able to make donations in support of Leukemia.”
Writing obituaries is a difficult task regardless of how personal, funny, or touching you decide to make it. We hope that you can find inspiration and guidance in these examples.