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How To Write Obituaries in Gainesville


It is never pleasant to contemplate the death of a loved one, let alone your own death. We would all rather enjoy the warmth of a sunny day in Gainesville, Florida. However, death is an inescapable part of life. When we go, we would all like to be remembered by the ones that we held dear in life. Writing a heartfelt death notice or obituary can be a great way to leave behind a brief written account about the life of a person who has passed. 

 A death notice or an obituary can also be a good way to inform other family, friends, and members of the community who were previously unaware of someone’s passing. Whether you are writing a death notice or obituary for a lost loved one or for yourself, this page will provide some helpful guidelines on how to structure your message and what information to include.

Obituary Vs Death Notice

Most of us think of an obituary when we think of a letter announcing the death of an individual. However, a person’s passing can be proclaimed through either an obituary or a death notice. But what is the difference between the two?

Obituary

An obituary is an article written for the newspaper that includes a detailed biography and list of life achievements for someone who has passed away. Obituaries are most commonly written and published by staff members for a newspaper rather than by members of the deceased’s family or by the deceased themselves. This is especially true with major newspapers. 

 People who are looking to write and publish a heartfelt obituary for a lost loved one or even for themselves if death is imminent should look to smaller newspapers, such as The Gainesville Sun. Community newspapers or organization newsletters are usually willing to publish personal obituaries.

Death Notice

A death notice is usually written by a family member rather than a newspaper staff member, announcing the death of an individual. While an obituary will usually offer more in depth biographical information about the deceased, a death notice will announce more general information including the name of the deceased, funeral or memorial service information, some biographical details, and often a charity where donations can be made in the deceased’s name. 

Families often choose to place a death notice in the paper as a way to inform the community about their loved one’s death and provide information on how friends and family can pay respects if they wish. Most major and local newspapers will publish death notices for a fee.

What Should You Include In A Death Notice Or Obituary?

A death notice is usually written by a family member rather than a newspaper staff member, announcing the death of an individual. While an obituary will usually offer more in-depth biographical information about the deceased, a death notice will announce more general information including the name of the deceased, funeral or memorial service information, some biographical details, and often a charity where donations can be made in the deceased’s name. 

Families often choose to place a death notice in the paper as a way to inform the community about their loved one’s death and provide information on how friends and family can pay respects if they wish. Most major and local newspapers will publish death notices for a fee.

What Should You Include In A Death Notice Or Obituary?

You can determine how little or how much information you wish to include in a death notice or an obituary if you are writing it yourself. But keep in mind that the more information you wish to include the more you will have to spend to get it published. 

 Most people choose to write a concise article for a death notice or obituary containing pertinent information and interesting facts about the deceased’s life and achievements. The pertinent information that is commonly included in a death notice or obituary is: 

  • The full name of the deceased; nicknames or maiden names can be included 
  • Date and location of death
  • The cause of death if you wish to disclose it
  • Names of surviving family members (optional)
  • Funeral or memorial service information (public or private); date, time, and location if public 
  • The charity or organization to which donations can be made in the name of the deceased 
Some people may choose to end a death notice with only the information above. However, others may wish to add biographical information to a death notice or write a brief biographical account for an obituary with the following information: 

  •  Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of marriage, and name of spouse (can include previous marriages and spouses if deceased was married more than once) 
  • History of education, degrees earned, and honors received 
  • Military service if applicable, including honors received or awards earned 
  • History of employment, including titles held, awards received, and special achievements 
  • Membership in organizations (relicious, cultural, academic, fraternal, or civic) 
  • Special or unique achievements Hobbies or interests

Example Templates For A Death Notice Or Obituary

If you are unsure of how you should compose a death notice or an obituary, here are examples of a brief death notice you can work off of or a more extensive obituary template. The bracketed information can be swapped for the personal information of the individual you are writing an obituary for.

Template 1

[Smith, Jane], [86]. A beloved [wife, mother, and friend] passed away on [Friday, June 8, 2018] at [North Florida Regional Medical Center] in [Gainesville, Florida]. [She] is survived by [her husband], [John] and [their three children], [Leslie], [George], and [Sarah]. A memorial service will be held at [United Church of Gainesville] on [Saturday, June 15, 2018] at [3:00 pm]. Memorial donations may be made in [Jane’s] name to the [Cystic Fibrosis Foundation].

Template 2

[John Smith], of [Gainesville, Florida], passed away on [October 3, 2003] at the age of [74]. [He] was born on [August 15, 1929] in [Tampa, Florida]. [He] attended [University of Florida] where [he] earned a [bachelor’s degree] in [finance]. In [1955], [he] married [Jane Brown] and together they had [two] children, [Phillip] and [Rachel]. [John] worked as a [branch manager] for [Bank of America]. [He] dedicated [his] life to caring for [his wife] and [two children]. A kind and generous individual, [John] was loved by [his family, friends, and community]. [He] will be sorely missed. [John] is survived by [his children] and [predeceased by his wife, Jane]. A funeral service organized by [Signature Memorial Funeral and Cremation Services] will be held at the [City Church of Gainesville] on [Monday, October 20, 2003]. Memorial donations may be made in [John’s] name to the [St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital].

How To Submit A Death Notice Or Obituary

A death notice or an obituary can be submitted to a newspaper by the family of the deceased or someone acting on behalf of the deceased’s family, such as a friend or funeral director.

Submitting an Obituary Online

Most major newspapers will have an option for submitting a death notice or a request for an obituary through a link on their website. You can usually find this option under the heading “Obituaries” or “Obits”. 

Any death notice or obituary submissions are commonly managed by the newspaper itself. However, many newspapers work with the website Legacy.com. You can go to their website and submit an obituary through Legacy.com to a newspaper of your choosing.

Submitting Through A Funeral Home

Funeral homes can provide a wide array of services for families who have lost a loved one. One of those services is submitting a death notice or obituary to a newspaper on behalf of the deceased’s family. Some funeral homes may charge an additional fee to submit a death notice or obituary on your behalf. 

Families often find using a funeral home to handle all of their funeral service needs to be very convenient. Funeral homes can help streamline the funeral or memorial process, easing the burden of planning a funeral during a family’s time of grief.

Submitting To A Local Newspaper or Newsletter

Most local newspapers or community newsletters do not have a specialized department for accepting and publishing death notices or obituaries. If the newspaper or newsletter you are looking to submit an obituary to does not have a protocol set up for submission, contact the editor directly. They should be able to help you publish a death notice or obituary.

Speak To The Professionals About Obituary Services

If you are looking to submit a death notice or obituary for a lost loved one, or looking to submit your own obituary in advance, speak with the professionals at Signature Memorial Funeral and Cremation Services. Our team of funeral and memorial professionals can help you get an obituary submitted to the newspaper of your choosing. 

Whether you are submitting an obituary in Gainesville, Florida, or looking to plan a funeral or memorial service, Signature Memorial is prepared to help you and your family in your time of need. Contact Signature Memorial Funeral and Cremation Services by calling us at (352) 286-0966 anytime. You can also reach us through the contact form on our website or visit our funeral home in person.
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