Some local Steubenville & Wintersville families feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of writing an obituary. They worry that they’ll forget important facts and information, or that they won’t fully capture their loved one’s life. As part of the grieving process, it is very therapeutic when our families write the obituary themselves and provide a photo of their loved one. To assist, Mosti Funeral Home has prepared the following obituary writing guide.
1. Include biographical information, as much as you have available and feel comfortable sharing (the more information you include, the easier it is for acquaintances to identify the deceased as someone they knew). Some items you may wish to include:
2. If services are public, include full funeral service information: location, day, and time of visitation, memorial or funeral service, and burial. If services are private, indicate so (for example, "Burial will be private" or "Interment private," or "Private services will be held"). Understanding the difference between some of the terminology will help prepare your guest when they arrive. Below we have explained some of these terms for you:
3. Consider listing one or more charities to which you’d like memorial donations made. If you would like memorial donations to be made, be sure to include the mailing address and/or the web address for the charity to make it easier for people to make donations.
4. If the family prefers monetary contributions rather than funeral flowers, include a phrase such as: "In lieu of flowers, please consider the needs of the family" or "In lieu of flowers, contributions suggested to the family," or "In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting financial assistance for the services." If you would like flowers but want to give people an option, please consider "Donations and memorial contributions may be made to."
5. Always check with the newspaper first. Some Steubenville-Wintersville area newspapers have specific style guidelines or restrictions on length, some only accept obituaries directly from funeral homes, and some out of town newspapers only publish obituaries written by newspaper staff members. Newspaper obituaries cost money. Even though the obituary for a newspaper may be limited, understand that the obituary for our website is unlimited.
6. Plan to publish the obituary in a newspaper at least 1-2 days prior to services so that friends and family can make arrangements to attend.
7. Please provide a photo and obituary for our website. As soon as you have it available, please email us an original photo (jpeg) and obituary (word.doc) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The key to a memorable obituary is in the details.
If you are in a position of writing an obituary, try to dig for the intimate details that will keep the person alive in memory: quirks, hobbies, favorite passions, oft-heard quotes, travels, food or unusual pursuits. It doesn’t matter if the person was a company president, an electrician, a cook or ballerina, everyone has a story to tell. But that story doesn’t come together by itself. Ask friends, children, parents, co-workers and spouses for details they recall and favor. How did the person look or dress? What was their daily routine? Where did they find most happiness? Be creative, look outside the box to find the personality traits and characteristics to recall.
Here are a few recent obituary excerpts that may get your creative juices flowing.
Try to remember specific instances where they made a difference in the lives of others, in their profession or field and/or in the community. Instead of just listing their achievements, tell a little story about some of them. Keep an eye out for moments that speak eloquently of their humanity, kindness, zest for life or even their cranky disposition—whatever fits. Did they take tango lessons or play poker in their eighties? Say so. Such information inspires people and helps them connect with the deceased. Before you sit down to write, take some time to think about what you want to say, and take notes as ideas come to you. Then get started.
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