Eulogies and Obituaries

Presentin a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker. It need not be.  How can you summarize a life in a few short minutes, while being both somber and funny at the same time?  Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with your grief. Being chosen to deliver a eulogy is an honor. It should be treated that way.  Here are some tips for writing and delivering an eloquent and memorable eulogy:

  • Gather information.  Talk with family members, close friends, and co-workers, to get important information about the deceased.  Some important information to include in the eulogy is the person's family and other close relationships, the person's education, career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or traveled to, and any special accomplishments they had.
  • Organize your thoughts.  Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you.  Create an outline of your speech and fill in the information that you gathered about the person.
  • Write it down.  This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks. You should never ad lib a eulogy.  Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy.  When you bring a copy of your eulogy to the podium, make sure it is easy to read. Print it out in a large font. If it hand-written, leave a few spaces between the lines.  Keep in mind your time constraints. It is best to keep things on the short side, especially if there are other speakers.
  • Review and Revise.  Your first draft will not be the last.  When you think you are finished, sleep on it. Look it over in the morning when you are fresh. That will be the time to make any necessary revisions.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice.  Read over your eulogy several times in order to become familiar with it.  Practice in front of a mirror. Read it to some friends or family and have them give you feedback.  Become familiar with your speech so you can recite it without making it look like you’re reading from a script.  The more you practice the more comfortable you will be. 
  • Make them laugh, but be respectful.  A funeral is not a roast, however there is room for humor in your eulogy.  Fondly remember a story about the person to which everyone can relate.  Keep it appropriate. There will be children and the elderly there that may not share the same sense of humor.  Laughter is truly the best medicine. Some well placed humor will help people cope, and will bring back fond memories of the deceased.
  • Don’t be afraid to show emotion.  Funerals are an extremely emotional event. Nobody expects you not to shed a few tears.  However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place where someone you trust can deliver the eulogy for you.  Give them a copy well in advance if you feel this could be an issue.
  • Have a glass of water as well as tissues handy.


Writing an obituary can be a difficult and emotional task.   First, you will need to gather information from family and friends about the deceased's childhood, education, career, hobbies, and interests.  Also, speak to the funeral home for correct information regarding the date, time, and location of the funeral service,or other funeral related events.  Many families find writing the obituary themselves to be cathartic.  Many of our families enjoy writing the body of the obituary. We can fill in the service details, as well as put it in the proper format.