June 21, 2019 Beyond The Dash

Obituary Template for Father

Tips for crafting dad's life story

Obituary Template for Father
Your dad led a remarkable life. Pay tribute to your father with a carefully crafted and meaningful obituary on Beyond the Dash. (Shutterstock)

The life of your father is worthy of a unique, thoughtful obituary. This notice will be the final record of his accomplishments, character and life story. Use this template to guide your writing process, as you create a tribute to the life of your father.


Research


Though you likely know your father the best of anyone, trying to write his life story could leave you feeling like you don't know him at all. You may have to do some family history research in order to write about your father. That could include calling family members, reviewing family records and photo albums, and maybe even visiting the library or searching the internet for clues. The biographical details in the obituary should be strictly factual, so it's important to get these right.


Your family may find value in gathering together to share memories. The obituary writer should attend and take as many notes as possible. Aside from factual details of his life, you'll want to capture any stories that reflect the unique character of the man who raised you. Funny anecdotes, tales that reveal his personality and tales of accomplishments will enrich the obituary stories for mourners and strangers alike.


Writing advice


Once you have gathered all the pertinent information required to write the obituary draft, the deadline for submitting it to the publishing newspaper or website might be fast approaching.


Your goal should be to draft the story as quickly as possible, and then edit for flow, clarity and length. Don't get hung up on making every word perfect during the first draft. Focus on finishing the first version, and then edit it. If a lot of the information came from other family members, allow them to read the draft and correct any facts that might be wrong or misleading.


Obituary writing steps:


Follow these steps to ensure your father's life story is complete, accurate and engaging.


1. Acknowledge and announce the passing


The main goal of an obituary is to publicly announce the passing of a loved one. This notice is usually published in the newspaper. In more recent years, obituaries are moving into the digital space. Online obituaries are accessible to folks across the globe, and last in their published forms forever.


Ready to get started?


Create an Obituary


Gently announce the passing of the deceased person in the first line of the obituary:



(Name), (age), of (residence) passed away on (date) with (details of the death).



The details of the death need not include cause of death, but some families reveal this information depending on the wishes of the deceased person.


Example:


"Toby Brown, 67, of Seattle, Washington, passed away on May 1, 2018, surrounded by family and friends."



2. Biographical details


The most basic things that are included in almost all obituaries include:



  • Full legal name

  • Nickname

  • Age

  • Place of passing

  • Place of residence

  • Education

  • Employment


These details help readers grasp the essentials of your father's life, but this is not all that's required to write a fitting tribute. This is also the time to include interesting or impressive achievements from your father's life. Did he win any awards? Start a business? Give to charity? Be brief, but don't forget to include these precious details.



He was born to parents (parents' names), on (date) in (location). (Name) graduated from (high school name) and received (name of degree) from (name of college). (Short description of a notable accomplishment.)



Example:


"He was born to parents Edward and Wanda Brown, on April 14, 1951, in Danville, California. Toby graduated from San Ramon Valley High School and received a degree in Agriculture from California State University. After the loss of his sister to Leukemia in 1970, Toby made regular donations to cancer research for the rest of his life. He was honored for his generosity by the American Cancer society in 2017, with a memorial bench in his honor."



3. Family information


An obituary is also an opportunity to acknowledge those who were closest to the deceased. Because this notice will form part of the public record, list the names of the family members who predeceased your father. Then include a list of those who survive, including the spouse, if still living, and closest friends.



He was married to (spouse's name) in (year of marriage). (Name) is survived by (list of surviving family members and close loved ones).


(Name) was predeceased by (list of predecessors).



Example:


"He married Tania, the love of his life, in 1971, who survives him. Toby is also survived by daughter Nellie Sarif and partner Max, Shawn Brown and partner Andrea and Angelica Anderson and partner Don, as well as a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Toby was predeceased by parents Edward and Wanda Brown, and sister Nelle Brown."



4. Personal touches


Depending on your family's wishes, and space or budget constraints by the publishing newspaper or website, you may include personal touches in the obituary story. Here you can describe your father's sense of humor, talents, views or even insights on death itself. Including these types of details will help all remember the unique spirit of this man.


There is no template you can follow to relate these personal touches. Your memories of him will be as distinct and unique as he was. Space permitting, choose one to three short anecdotes to share, and state them as simply as possible.


Example:


"Toby was known for his love of baseball. Returning from University to his hometown of Seattle, he inflicted his love of baseball on all who knew him. An avid Mariners fan, his one wish was to see his hometown baseball team reach the World Series. This dream was not realized, and Toby expressed this as his one life regret."



5. Funeral arrangements



(Type of event) will be held on (date) at (time) at (location).



Example:


"The memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2018, at 12 p.m. at the Forest Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery, burial to follow. The family insists that people make donations in support of Leukemia, in lieu of sending flowers."



Use Interactive Obituary Template


Piecing it all together


Now that you've compiled the main elements of the obituary, combine each section to create the full story. Edit it for flow if any transitions seem awkward or confusing.


Sample obituary



"Toby Brown, 67, of Seattle, Washington, passed away on May 1, 2018, surrounded by family and friends.


He was born to parents Edward and Wanda Brown, on April 14, 1951, in Danville, California. Toby graduated from San Ramon Valley High School and received a degree in Agriculture from California State University. After the loss of his sister to Leukemia in 1970, Toby made regular donations to cancer research for the rest of his life. He was honored for his generosity by the American Cancer society in 2017, with a memorial bench in his honor.


He married Tania, the love of his life, in 1971, who survives him. Toby is also survived by daughter Nellie Sarif and partner Max, Shawn Brown and partner Andrea and Angelica Anderson and partner Don, as well as a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Toby was predeceased by parents Edward and Wanda Brown, and sister Nelle Brown.


Toby was known for his love of baseball. Returning from University to his hometown of Seattle, he inflicted his love of baseball on all who knew him. An avid Mariners fan, his one wish was to see his hometown baseball team reach the World Series. This dream was not realized, and Toby expressed this as his one life regret.


The memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2018, at 12 p.m. at the Forest Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery, burial to follow. The family insists that people make donations in support of Leukemia, in lieu of sending flowers."


Your loved one had a remarkable life. Tell their story, and we’ll publish it online for free.

After creating an online memorial, you can also publish in print in any of over 6,000 newspapers across North America.

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