How to Write an Obituary

An Obituary is a tribute to the life of a loved one. It is also an opportunity to inform friends and acquaintances that your family member has passed away and to alert them of service dates and times. Although each notice is unique, Bay Area News Group requires the general format to be the same. This achieves a tasteful presentation that is respectful to all of the families who have a loved one's obituary on a page.

The notice should be written in clear, readable language with no abbreviations*. All information should be in upper lower case. Please do not capitalize the full name or words within the text of the notice. Remember that accuracy is very important. Please be sure that dates, names, schools, cities are correct.

The notice can be divided into paragraphs based on the guidelines below:

  1. The 1st line contains the first and last name and can include middle name, initial and/or a nickname

  2. The 2nd line contains the city where they resided (or former local city) - "Resident of" or "Former Resident of" must also be typed on the line.

  3. Dates of birth and death are optional. Please use the standard abbreviations for month, i.e. Jan., Feb.

  4. The notice should include a short biography including milestones (marriage, children, career, military service, etc.), successes, special interests, and membership in organizations.

  5. Survivors usually include the spouse, children, brothers, sisters and grandchildren and can include their cities of residence. You can also include family members who passed away previously.

  6. End with the date, time and location of services - visitation, rosary, funeral, and/or burial or gravesite service and donations. Any donations must be for a charitable organization or a trust set up at a financial institution. Requests for donations to individuals will not be accepted.

  7. Spell check the notice and verify dates and spelling of all family names, etc.

  8. If you have placed a notice and find that you want to change something you can go to the My Notices page and "Modify" the order. You can also add dates to an order that hasn't run or cancel an order if the cut-off time has not passed.

  9. Notices placed by Funeral Homes include the logo at no charge.

  • Bay Area News Group reserves the right to reject or edit any notice that is deemed unacceptable.
  • All orders must include the name of a funeral home or coroner's office that can be contacted by the newspaper. A field for this purpose has been provided. This information will not be printed in the Obituary Notice.
  • Notices that contain negative references to the deceased or anyone associated with them will not be accepted. Profanity will not be accepted.
  • Information on political or social causes must be limited to the name of the organization. An obituary is not a forum for expanded expression of personal beliefs.
  • Funeral homes may use a website address to refer to a guest book. Any reference that points to the website for the "complete obituary" will not be accepted.