Eulogies

Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it need not be.  How can you summarize somebody’s life in a few short minutes, while being both somber and funny at the same time? Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with grief, being chosen to give a eulogy is an honor and should be treated that way.  Here are some tips for writing and delivering an eloquent and memorable eulogy.

  • Gather information.  Talk with family members, close friends and co-workers to get important information on the deceased.  Some important information to include in the eulogy is the persons family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or traveled to, and any special accomplishments they had.
  • Organize your thoughts.  Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you.  Create an outline of your speech, and fill in the information that you gathered about the person.
  • Write it down.   Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy.  When you bring a copy your eulogy to the podium make sure it is easy to read, print it out in a large font, or if it hand-written leave a few spaces between the lines. 
  • It is ok to make them laugh, but be respectful.  There is room for humor in your eulogy, and some well placed humor will help people cope, and will bring back fond memories of the deceased.
  • Don’t be afraid to show emotion.  Funerals are an emotional event. However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place where someone you trust can deliver the eulogy for you.  Give them a copy well in advance if you feel this could be an issue.

Obituaries

Writing an obituary is a difficult and emotional task.   First, you will need to gather information from family and friends of the deceased about their childhood, education, career and hobbies and interests.  As well, speak to the funeral director to receive any important information on the date, time and location of any funeral service, or other funeral related events.  Using the template will help make the process easier and will ensure you write a properly structured obituary.

Instructions: Replace all items in ITALICS below with the appropriate information.

[GIVEN NAME] [MIDDLE NAME (AND NICKNAME)] [SURNAME NAME], [AGE], of [CITY], [STATE], died [DATE OF DEATH] at [LOCATION OF DEATH].

[NAME] was born in [LOCATION OF BIRTH] to [PARENT’S NAMES] on [DATE OF BIRTH]. He/she went to high school at [SCHOOL NAME] and graduated in [YEAR]. He/she went on to earn a degree/certificate in [DEGREE TYPE] from [SCHOOL NAME]. He/she worked as a [JOB TYPE] for [COMPANY] for [NUMBER OF YEARS]. He/she enjoyed [ACTIVITIES/HOBBIES]. He/she received [AWARDS/HONORS] and was involved in [CHARITIES/ORGANIZATIONS].

[NAME] is survived by his/her [RELATION], [NAME] of [CITY].  (List all survivors: spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and anyone else). He/she is preceded in death by his/her [RELATION], [NAME]. (List predeceased: spouse, parents, children, siblings, anyone else.)

Funeral service will be held at [LOCATION] on [DATE] at [TIME] with Reverend [NAME]  officiating. Burial will follow at [CEMETERY NAME], [CEMETERY LOCATION]. Visitation will be held at [LOCATION] on [DATE] at [TIME]. [NAME OF FUNERAL HOME] will be handling the funeral arrangements. 

Memorial donations may be made to [ORGANIZATION NAME], [MAILING ADDRESS].  The family wishes to extend their gratitude to [ORGANIZATION/NAME] [FINAL WORDS].

Remember most newspapers charge by the word, this template is good for getting all the information necessary in as few words possible.  However, this template is not written in stone.  You can make any adjustments you feel necessary.