Announce the Death of a Family Member to Other Family Members, Close Friends, and Acquaintances • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


For extended family and close friends who live out of town, handwritten notes are appropriate, and the tone should be very personal. Sometimes printed announcements (often black-banded) are sent to other out-of-town friends and acquaintances. These announcements are somewhat more formal. Both contain essentially the same information, but differ in degree of familiarity. For those who may want to attend the funeral, an immediate telephone call will usually be necessary in place of or preceding the announcement.

How to write this announcement letter:

  1. Make the announcement in a direct, yet sensitive, way.

Example Letter #1


We are sorry to be the bearers of sad news, but our grandfather Doe passed away last Saturday from complications following heart surgery. He had been experiencing chest pains for several weeks. The surgery was intended to alleviate the problem.

Following his wishes, we held a graveside service with his children and grandchildren at the Doe family plot in the Springfield City Cemetery. Grandfather was a modest, private man and wanted it that way. Grandmother Doe is holding up well.

Example Letter #2


Our family is deeply saddened to inform you that Grandmother passed away in her sleep Wednesday night. As many of you know, she has been suffering from kidney failure for some time now. We are relieved that her passing was peaceful and painless. Her funeral will be held on Saturday at the Doe & Sons Funeral Home in Springfield at 12:30 p.m.

Example Letter #3


It saddens me to announce the untimely death of our beloved aunt Jane Doe. Aunt Jane died of complications following a burst appendix and emergency appendectomy on Tuesday, November 19. There will be a short memorial service at 3:00 p.m. Friday in the Springfield Funeral Chapel at 1600 Main Street. Aunt Jane's will specifies that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Doe Scholarship fund.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Make the announcement in a direct, yet sensitive, way.

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • Last Thursday our father passed away after suffering a stroke. We held the funeral on Friday at the Springfield Church. We appreciated all the family who were there to support Mother. (This tone is appropriate for extended family and close friends.)
  • It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, John Doe, who died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage on December 1, 2018. Funeral services were held Monday, December 5, in the Sunset Funeral Home in Springfield. (This is a formal tone for persons other than close friends and family.)
  • We are all saddened by the death of John Doe who was fatally injured in a hiking accident in the Himalayas last week. John's body is being returned to Kansas for a memorial service, June 30, at 10:00 a.m., in the Heavenly Rest Funeral Home, 1800 Main Street in Springfield. Contributions to the Doe Children's Hospital are preferred in place of flowers.
  • Our sweet Grandmother Doe returned to her heavenly home on May 15, following a brief illness. She recently celebrated her 95th birthday with thirty grandchildren and five great grandchildren in attendance. A funeral to honor this grand lady's life and her unselfish contributions to us all was held on Thursday, May 21, in the Springfield Funeral Home.
  • After a long battle with cancer, Uncle John died at his home last Sunday. We grieve at his leaving, but we are relieved that his suffering is over and he is with his wife, Emma, who preceded him in death in 2018. In accordance with his wishes, we held a private memorial service for immediate family members on May 7, at the Springfield Cemetery.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • a memorial service will be held on
  • after a long battle with
  • age-related causes
  • an end to his suffering
  • announce the death of our
  • are all saddened by the death of
  • as a result of a
  • body will be returned to
  • celebration of her life
  • died suddenly of a
  • died at his home on
  • following a brief illness
  • funeral was held
  • funeral services were held
  • graveside service
  • hope all the family can be there
  • in place of flowers
  • it is with great sadness that
  • passed away after suffering a
  • preceded him in death
  • private memorial service
  • returned to her heavenly home
  • returned to the arms of
  • sorrow at his passing
  • to honor her life