Checklist: Writing a Death Notice or Obituary

Death notices are paid announcements in a newspaper that give the name of the person who died and details of the funeral service, as well as where donations can be made. Obituaries are articles written by a newspaper’s staff offering a detailed biography of the person who died. Death notices and obituaries can have varying amounts of information; the information you include is entirely up to you.

The basic information usually included in a death notice:

  • The full name of the person who died, including maiden name or nickname
  • Date and location of death
  • Cause of death (optional)
  • Names of surviving family members (optional)
  • Details of the funeral or memorial service (public or private); if public, date, time, and location of service
  • Name of charity to which donations should be made

Additional biographical information may be included in a death notice, such as:

  • Date and place of birth, names of parents
  • Date and place of marriage, and name of spouse
  • Educational history, including schools attended and degrees or honors received
  • Military service, including any honors or awards received
  • Employment history, including positions held, awards received, or special achievements
  • Membership in organizations, including religious, cultural, civic, or fraternal
  • Special accomplishments
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Personality and character of the person who died