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How to Write an Obituary for a Funeral Program

Many people find that memorializing their loved one as they tell the story of their life through their obituary is both healing and therapeutic, especially when they have support as they write it. We hope this guide alleviates any apprehension you might have about how to write an obituary – whether you’re working with Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery or another service provider.

It’s common to write a brief obituary for publication in newspapers and then an expanded, more meaningful obituary for the funeral program when space and cost aren’t issues. When writing the expanded version, use this outline as a guide.

Announcement of death

Begin with the announcement of death, which often looks something like this: “Margaret Jean Theilen, age 90, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 5th, in her home.” Some families may also include the cause of death.


Write a biographical sketch detailing the highlights of your loved one’s life. Many people include the details surrounding the birth, family (including marriage and children), career, and hobbies of their loved one. Consider the legacy your loved one has left:

  • in what ways have they impacted their family, community, and world?
  • how have they made a difference in the lives of others?
  • how will they live on after their passing?

Losing a loved one to more stigmatized health conditions like depression and addiction can make it challenging to determine how much to share in the obituary. Some families find that sharing their loved one’s battle with mental health helps them alleviate the stigma and make a difference in the lives of others, creating a legacy in itself.


Next, share those who preceded your loved one in death and those who have survived the decedent. Very large families might say something like, “and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins who shared in his life.” Small families often include names and locations of those who survived the decedent.

Service Details

Finally, share the details of the service for those who would like to attend.

The understanding team at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetary are there for you every step of the way. While many families choose to write the obituaries themselves, many others request help, and we’re always eager to oblige. Visit our website today to learn more.

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