As a close friend or relative of someone who’s passed away, you may be tasked with writing the obituary. During this difficult time, it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you’ve never written one before. Below you’ll find some tips on what a short obituary should include and some examples and templates to help you out.

How to write a simple obituary

 A basic obituary should contain the following elements:

  • The person’s full name
  • Date of birth 
  • Date of death
  • Age when they died

It’s also common to include:

  • Where they lived
  • Where they died
  • Family members who died before them
  • Surviving family members

It’s up to you whether you’d like to include more details about the person’s life and character. You may also want to provide information on any funeral or memorial services. Below, we’ve gathered a range of short obituary templates to help you get started. Feel free to take elements from different templates to create a fitting obituary for your loved one. 

A simple short obituary template

[Full name], [age], of [where they lived], passed away on [date of death] from [cause of death]. They were predeceased by [list of family members who died before them], and they left behind [list of their family members who are still alive].

Announcing the funeral

[Full name], [age], of [where they lived] sadly left us on [date of death] following [cause of death].

They are survived by [list of family members who are still alive]. A funeral service will be held in their honor at [time] on [date] at [location].

Announcing a private funeral

We are sad to announce the passing of [full name] of [where they lived]. They died at age [age] on [date of death]. [First name] passed away surrounded by their loved ones after a battle with [illness].

The funeral will be a private ceremony with only close family members present.

Short obituary with no funeral or memorial

[Full name] sadly passed away on [date of death] at their home in [place of passing]. They were a beautiful person who spread joy and happiness wherever they went.

As per [first name]’s request, no funeral or memorial service will be held.

Inviting donations

[Full name] took their final breath on [date] at the age of [age]. They were surrounded by loved ones when they passed.

We invite you to make a donation to [charity] in their honor, in place of sending flowers.

Funeral information to follow

We are sad to announce the death of [full name], who passed away in the hospital/their home on [date of death] after a brief illness. We will miss them very much.

We are in the process of arranging their funeral and will announce the details soon.

Ash spreading ceremony invitation

The world became brighter on [date of birth], the day that [full name] was born. [First name] sadly passed on [date of death] after a long and happy life. They will be sorely missed.

There will be a ceremony to spread [first name]’s ashes at [location] on [date of ceremony].

Announce a celebration of life

[Full name] left us on [date of death] at the age of [age].

To honor [first name]’s memory, we are holding a celebration of their life on [date] at [location]. We invite anyone who knew them to attend and remember their wonderful life. We ask attendees to wear bright colors.

Short obituary for a pillar of the community

Our community sadly lost an important member on [date of death]. [Full name] was the heart and soul of [place where they lived]. They volunteered at [local charity] and helped out with [community events]. They will leave a big gap in our community and will be sorely missed. Donations can be made in [first name]’s name to [local charity or organization], an organization they were passionate about and dedicated so much of their time to.

Short obituary examples for a son or daughter

 Example 1

Our darling [full name] tragically left us on [date of death]. They have left behind a loving [mother/father/sister/brother] who will miss them so much. [First name] loved [hobbies/interests] and always brought a smile to everyone’s face. If you are able, please make a donation in [first name]’s name to [children’s hospital/charity], who helped [first name] and our family greatly at the end of their life.

Example 2

Our [son/daughter/child] [full name]’s short life ended peacefully at [location] on [date]. Their smile lit up every room, and we will miss seeing them play with their friends and talking endlessly about [favorite interest]. A memorial service to remember [first name]’s brief but beautiful life will be held on [date of the ceremony] at [location].

Obituary samples for mothers

Example 1

Our dear mother [full name] sadly passed away on [date of death], at the age of [age]. She was a wonderful mother who was always there when we needed her. She also had many friends and was a well-loved member of the community in [place where she lived]. She was predeceased by [family members who died before] and is survived by [family members who are still alive].

Example 2

My mother [full name] died on [date of death] after a long and full life. She was very loved and will be missed terribly. If you would like to pay your respects, you are welcome to attend the memorial service we are holding in her honor at [location] on [date].

Obituary samples for fathers

Example 1

I am heartbroken to announce the death of my father, [full name]. He passed away peacefully at the age of [age], surrounded by friends and family. My dad enjoyed [hobbies/interests] and was always cracking a joke. He leaves behind [surviving family members].

Example 2

Our father [full name] left this world on [date of death] at the age of [age]. He will be sadly missed and will always hold a place in our hearts. We would love you to come and honor his life at [location of the funeral] on [date].

Honoring someone’s life in writing

Hopefully, these basic obituary templates will help you get started with writing an obituary for your loved one. Bear in mind that if you’re planning to have the obituary published in a local newspaper, there may be a word or character limit. Another way to honor someone’s life in writing is through a eulogy, which can be read aloud at a funeral or memorial service. You can find help with writing a eulogy here.