Announce the Death of a Family Member, or Write the Obituary • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


The obituary appearing in a newspaper will be more formal than an announcement to family or friends. It contains specific biographical data about the deceased and information that those wishing to pay respects will need. Since the need for the information is immediate, you should either deliver the information to the newspaper in person or read it to the appropriate person over the telephone.

How to write this announcement letter:

  1. Include the following information:

Example Letter #1


Jane Johnson Doe, age 88, of Springfield, died May 6, 2018 at the Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Kansas, after a long illness. She was born January 11, 1930, in Springfield, the daughter of Marvin Blaine and Violet Smith Johnson. She was a member of the local Methodist Church and an officer in the Daughters of the American Revolution. She served for 30 years as a real estate agent in the Springfield area.

She is survived by three sons and one daughter: John, Eric, and Blaine, all of Springfield, and Michelle (Mimsy) Peck of Appledale; 11 grandchildren; two sisters and one brother: Ruth Adams, Denver, Colorado; Joyce Anderson, Colton, Kansas; Harry Johnson, Martinsville, Indiana. She was preceded in death by her husband, John Doe, and her daughter, Jane.

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Springfield Funeral Home, 2300 Riverdale Avenue. Friends may call at the funeral home Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. or one hour prior to the services. Interment will be in the Springfield City Cemetery.

Example Letter #2


John L. Doe, 70, died Saturday, October 22, 2018, in an industrial accident. He was born June 28, 1948, in Springfield, Kansas, to Alvin C. and Hilda Smith Doe. He married Jill Wood in 1968. In 1972 he married Anne Johnson.

He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Master Sergeant in communications and became the owner of an oil distributorship in Springfield. He served as a member of the local school board for five years and was running for reelection at the time of his death. He was also a talented photographer.

He is survived by his wife, Anne, Springfield, three sons, Paul J. and his wife Susan, Boulder, Colorado; John O. and his wife Kristen, Appleton, Wisconsin; Michael R. and his wife, Diane, Riverside, California; two daughters, Elizabeth and her husband Jeremy Edwards, Phoenix, Arizona; and Marie, Springfield. He also has two grandchildren and is survived by his mother, his sister Kathryn Jones, and his brother Sidney, all of Springfield.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, October 27 at 1 p.m. at the Springfield Lutheran Church at 1500 Aspen Drive. Friends may call two hours before the services. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be given to the Springfield Children's Hospital. Interment will be in the Springfield City Cemetery.

Example Letter #3


Jane Doe, born October 14, 1948, in Springfield, Kansas, passed away Saturday, January 3. She was the daughter of Luther and Marilyn Saunders of Springfield. Jane was an active member of her Springfield community where she resided for twenty-one years. She dedicated her life to her community, husband and children. Ms. Doe was the mother of three children. She was president of the PTA, den mother, and volunteered at the county library. Recently Jane served those in need as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels until her illness became too advanced. Jane was an excellent wife, mother, and neighbor.

She is survived by her husband, John Doe of Springfield; sons Eric Doe of Chicago, Illinois, and Fred Doe of Tallahassee, Florida; daughter Mary Ann Doe-Smith of Denver, Colorado; and parents, Mr. & Mrs. Luther Saunders. Services for Mrs. Doe will be held at Our Lady of Grace Church in Springfield on Tuesday, January 6. Please send your kind contributions to the Women against Breast Cancer Foundation.

Example Letter #4


John Doe died at the age of 65 as a result of an automobile accident near Springfield, Kansas, on April 9. John lived near the Springfield River where he felt close to God and nature. John, our beloved father, son, brother, and grandfather, was born on July 10, 1937, in Centerville, to Eric and Jane Doe. He is survived by his mother, Jane Doe, of Centerville; daughter, Ashley Stevens of Centerville; two brothers, Fred and Eric Doe of Centerville; and son, John Doe of Springfield.

Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday, April 17, at the XYZ Funeral Home at 1600 Main Street in Springfield at 2:00 p.m. Friends may call on Wednesday one hour prior to services. Interment will be in the Springfield cemetery.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Include the following information:

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • Complete name of the deceased
    Date and place of birth
    Parents's names
    Age at time of death
    Place of residence
    Date of death
    Place of death
    Civic or religious affiliations
    Personal or career information
    Names, relationships, and home towns of survivors
    Names of immediate family who preceded the deceased in death
    An indication of whether the services are private or open to friends and relatives.
    If flowers are not wanted, a statement e.g., "Please omit flowers" or "Contributions to (name of recipient) preferred in place of flowers."
    Date and place of services, viewings, and interment
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • a service will be held
  • after a long illness
  • burial will be
  • contributions may be made in the name of the deceased
  • enjoyed performing
  • fatally injured
  • following a brief illness
  • friends may call
  • friends may pay their respects from
  • funeral services will be held
  • graduated from
  • graveside service
  • heroic battle with
  • in lieu of flowers
  • interment will be
  • is survived by
  • memorial contributions may be made to
  • memorial services will be held
  • passed away
  • preceded in death by
  • private memorial service
  • retired from
  • served his country during the
  • services will be held
  • significant contribution
  • was a talented
  • was a member of
  • well known for
  • will be sorely missed