Eulogies & Obituaries

Giving a meaningful eulogy, or writing an obituary, can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker. We have gathered some resources to help you along the way.

Eulogies

Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it doesn't have to 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 your grief, and 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 person's family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or traveled too, 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.  This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks, and you should not ad lib a eulogy.  Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy.  When you bring a copy of your eulogy to the podium, make sure it is easy to read.  Print it out in a large font or, if it is hand-written, leave a few spaces between the lines.  Keep in mind the length of your eulogy; it’s best to keep things on the short side, especially if there are other speakers.
  • Review and Revise.  Your first draft will not be your last.  When you think you are done, sleep on it, and look it over in the morning when your mind is fresh again.  That will be the time to make any necessary revisions.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice.  Read over your eulogy several times in order to become familiar with it.  Practice in front of a mirror, read it to your friends or family, and have them give you feedback.  Become familiar with your speech so you can recite it without making it look like you’re reading from a script.  The more you practice you have, the more comfortable you will be. 
  • Make them laugh, but be respectful.  A funeral is not a roast, however there is room for humor in your eulogy.  Fondly remember a story about the person that everyone can relate too.  Keep it appropriate, as there will be children and the elderly there that may not share the same sense of humor.  Laughter is truly the best medicine, 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 extremely emotional event.  Nobody expects you not to shed a few tears.  However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place to have someone you trust deliver the eulogy for you.  Give them a copy well in advance if you feel this may be the case.
  • Have a glass of water as well as tissues handy.


Obituaries

The best way to start is to make a list of family members to mention (surviving and predeceased) and ensure that everyone`s names are spelled correctly and spouses are accounted for.

Keep in mind the announcement can either just be the information that is needed and current or be a family record (going into more detail with family members).

The order of information can be written this way:

Deceased name:
Either full name, first with middle initial, preferred name, nickname. Maiden name could be in brackets.

Example: Elizabeth ``Betty`Irene Smith (nee Brown)

Following the person`s name there could be mention of where the person lived and previously lived, in order to help people make the connection.

Example:

resident of St. Marys and formerly of Thorndale.


Writing in the date, place and age of death:

Example:

passed away at St. Marys Memorial Hospital on January 1, 2022 at the age of 90.


Listing family members:

Usual order:
- Parents - sometimes they are mentioned first, whether predeceased or not, but can be mentioned later in a predeceased section.
- Spouse (can include maiden name), mentioning date of marriage or number of years married can be done
- Children (can include spouses name)
- Grandchildren and great-grandchildren
- Siblings, can include in-law family members
- With nieces and nephews, sometimes a line saying many nieces, nephews and extended family members in a good way to not miss anyone.
- Pets

Predeceased family members

Sometimes including information about work, community involvement and hobbies are mentioned.

Service details

Suggestions for memorial donations