40+ Free Obituary Templates | How to Write (with Samples)

An obituary or orbit, also referred to as a mortuary tribute or a death notice, is an editorial article announcing the death of a person and offering detailed biographical information about the deceased. An obituary template is a simple document that provides you with an outline to help guide your writing process.

They usually include the names of the surviving family members, the deceased’s accomplishments, their hobbies, and information about where and when a memorial or funeral service will be conducted.

For your knowledge,  the word obituary originates from “Obitius”, a Latin word, which means meeting or going towards death. “Obit” is a French term meaning to die from a fall, and “ary” means connected to or belonging to.

Free Templates

Free Editable Obituary Template

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Professional obituary template for honoring a life

Editable obituary sample - Free download

Free obituary example for easy customization

Sample obituary example for free download

Downloadable Obituary template - Printable and Editable

Editable obituary sample with customizable sections

Free obituary sample - Illustrator format for download

Sample Obituary Form for Memorial Announcement

    Purpose of an Obituary and Reason to Publish It

    There are several reasons why these templates are created and published online or even in national papers.

    Some of the reasons for creating an obituary include:

    Inform the community

    When someone dies, it is essential to notify the community members of their death, invite them to the funeral or memorial service, and provide them with a biography of the deceased.

    Make funeral arrangements clear to everyone

    It serves to identify and communicate the funeral arrangements to everyone. In cases where the deceased had many friends, colleagues, and relatives, contacting each of them can be challenging, and you may find yourself not informing all of them. By sending them a link or mailing them a copy of the obituary, you will be able to conveniently convey the news about the passing of your loved one.

    To create a public record for the person

    It is a great way to communicate a person’s life and personality and help them cherish the moments and things they did when they were alive. It is also a great way to cherish and honor the deceased by acknowledging their achievements with their friends, family, and colleagues.

    Obituary Vs. a Death Notice

    Although these two terms are alike, they also differ to a great extent. The difference between an obituary and a death notice is that, unlike a death notice, which is usually short facts-based and can be used to notify institutions such as insurance companies and creditors about the death of the person by stating the name of the deceased, age, date of birth and date of death. An obituary is usually lengthy and contains information about the deceased, including their personal life, what they loved, their hobbies, etc.

    Obituary Vs. Eulogy

    The main difference between an obituary and a eulogy is that an obituary is printed on a piece of paper or online and outlines the life events of the deceased, including their achievements, family ties, and hobbies, and can also include information regarding the memorial and funeral plans.

    In contrast, an eulogy is a speech written by a friend, family member, or close confidant of the deceased highlighting the special memories of the deceased along with the relationships the person had in their life and spoken during the memorial or funeral service.

    Things to Include in an Obituary Template

    Whether you are drafting an obituary for a friend, family member, or colleague, knowing what to include in it is very important. A well-crafted one can help ensure that the memorial or funeral service runs smoothly, as everyone will be on the same page on what, when, and how they are supposed to do certain things during the event.

    Here are some things that you should include in the template:

    Announcement of the death

    Start by mentioning the name, age, place of residence, and other identifiable information about the deceased, such as their nicknames, etc., to help everyone understand who it is for.

    Then, use phrases such as the deceased, “Passed away,” “went to be with the Lord“, and “surrounded by his or her family” to help convey the message about the death of the deceased simply and politely.

    Summary of the deceased’s life

    The next thing to include in the obituary is an overview of the deceased’s life events and accomplishments, including their most important events, qualities, contributions, and the connections they had established with other people while they were alive.

    Also, make sure to list the following in chronological order: their date and place of birth; the names of the parents or guardians of the deceased, including their mother’s family name; the name of their spouse; their education; their work; and other important information such as their accolades and military service if they served.

    List of surviving family members

    It should also list the surviving family members. It is essential to include the names of all the surviving members, including their stepchildren, sisters, brothers, uncles, etc. People usually feel appreciated when they are recognized for being in someone’s life. Therefore, list the surviving members, starting with those who had a close relationship with the deceased, including their spouses, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents, and siblings.


    When listing adults, use their first and last names; it shows respect. For children, you can use their first names. Also, for coupling partners, only mention their first and last names if they are related to the deceased and only write their last names if they share the same last name.

    A special message or a poem

    It should include a section dedicated to messages, poems, bible verses, etc. This section can be used to say special thanks to the people who made the funeral or memorial service possible, thanking the staff for their dedication. This section may also include a short poem or prayer dedicated to the friends, family members, and those who have suffered the loss.

    Photos of the deceased

    Photos are a great way to cherish and remember the deceased. By including some old photos of the deceased showing their fun moments, you will connect with everyone, make them feel much closer to the deceased, and help them cherish and value their memories. Make sure to use photos from their young, teenage, and old years to help everyone from their past and present know who it is for.

    Funeral details and service times

    Lastly, the obituary should list the funeral or memorial service details, including the venue, time, and directions. It should also include a breakdown of all the activities that will take place during the service. The activities should be listed with their corresponding times. The details should be easy for everyone to read and understand and they should be devoid of any ambiguity to help ensure that everyone is on the same page during the funeral service.

    How can an obituary be obtained?

    There are two common ways of creating or obtaining it.

    These are as follows:

    Contacting a funeral director

    You can contact your local funeral director to help you come up with one. Since funeral directors deal with them more often, they will be able to provide you with an outline of what to include in it or guide you on what to include.

    Download a template

    The next option is to download a pre-built template. The advantage of downloading one is that you will save time coming up with one from scratch. A pre-made template can also help you get some inspiration for words to use when coming up with an obituary from scratch.

    Use Case of an Obituary

    Mr. John Doe

    Creative director and Chief Editor at ABC Limited, John Doe’s life didn’t end with his death. John passed away on 1st June 2021 at the age of 89 after losing his battle with cancer. John was surrounded by loved ones who will continue to cherish and honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest.

    John completed his bachelor’s degree at XYZ University. Then, after directing films for 12 years, he went back to complete his master’s degree in Editorial Press. John’s pride was in his career, and he shared his passion for editorial work with the thousands of people he worked with.

    Until his health condition made it impossible, John was an active Catholic church member, working with many ministry initiatives, including the “Feed the Hungry program.”

    The simplest things in life brought joy to John, and he loved a quiet evening with his friends and former colleagues.

    John is survived by his beautiful wife, Mary. He was a proud father of two daughters and two sons named Debra, Jane, Tom, and Ted. All his friends, colleagues, and family will miss his great attitude and bright smile.

    A graveside ceremony will be held on June 13, 2021, at the Myne Cemetery, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Followed by a backyard reception and potluck barbeque.

    Obituary Samples

    Free Newspaper Obituary Sample

    Obituary Example with Instructions - Free Download

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    Obituary Template for Artist - Download Now!

    Printable obituary template for child

    Downloadable Christian obituary templates free

    Free Downloadable Father Obituary Example

    Free infant obituary template for download

    Jewish Obituary Example - Free Download

    Military Obituary Sample - Printable and Editable

    Free printable mother obituary sample

    Obituary Template for a Nature Enthusiast - Free Download

    Private person obituary template - word format

    Activist obituary sample - download now!

    Free Obituary Template - Editable and Downloadable

    Pet Obituary Sample for Free Download

    Obituary Template Example for a Traveler

    Free short printable obituary template

    Short Event Info Coming Obituary Template

    Short - No events planned obituary template word

    Short Obituary Scattering of Ashes - Downloadable Template

    Short Example of Obituary - Free Download

    Standard Obituary Template - Printable and Editable

    Standard obituary no children template

    Obituary sample - Standard downloadable example

    Sudden Death Obituary Example for Free

    Teen Obituary Example - Download for Free

    Obituary Sample for Young Adult - Free

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Who should write the obituary?

      An obituary can be written by anyone close to the deceased. However, in most cases, the family may write it with the help of a funeral director or with a template.

      Is it a legal requirement?

      An obituary is not a legal requirement. The decision to come up with one is usually up to the family members.

      About This Article

      Maureen Taylor
      Authored by:
      Certified Microsoft Office Specialist, Design, Template Creation, Form Building
      Maureen Taylor is a recognized authority in the Microsoft Office suite, holding a distinguished certification that underscores her mastery. Based on her in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience, Maureen excels in design, seamlessly crafting visually compelling and functional assets. Her prowess extends to the creation of custom templates tailored to specific needs and the design of interactive forms that streamline data capture. Maureen's meticulous approach, combined with her knack for understanding user requirements, ensures that every project not only meets but often exceeds expectations. For businesses and individuals seeking an expert who can translate their vision into efficient Microsoft Office solutions, Maureen Taylor is the definitive choice.

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