Composing an Obituary

Our funeral directors are here to help you, but composing an obituary can be a very personal experience for your family.  For the most part, the obituary can be submitted in your own words.  Our funeral directors are always available to help with suggestions, structure and proof reading. 

When writing a newspaper obituary please keep in mind that you are being charged by the newspaper for each line of space that is used.  So you may want to do your best to keep it to the point and convey information that is most important to the deceased and his or her loved ones.  Also, be aware that you have full access through our website to write a more complete and colorful article that will appear on the deceased person’s memorial webpage.  This article will remain on the memorial webpage and on the SPILKER FUNERAL HOME website without expiration for family and friends to visit. You will notice when reading the newspapers these days that most funeral homes have their website advertised at the bottom of the obituary to offer further information to those reading.

Suggestions For Obituary Content:

  • The deceased person’s name.  Example:  Smith, John J. “Jack”
  • Age
  • City or Town of Residence.  Example: …of Cape May and formerly of Philadelphia, PA
  • Sometimes people will include a person’s birthplace, birthdate and parent’s names.  
  • Sometimes people will include education. Example: Jack graduated from XYZ High School, Class of 19?? and later graduated from ABC University with a BA in Finance.
  • Sometimes people will include Work History / Employment
  • Sometimes people will include Veteran Status and Military Information
  • Sometimes people will include Memberships / Organizations / Church Affiliations
  • Sometimes people will write a sentence or two about hobbies or things enjoyed in life.  Example: Jack enjoyed boating, fishing, working in his garden and watching Phillies Baseball but most of all he enjoyed precious time with his family. 
  • Sometimes people will mention character traits, personality attributes, intangible things - the way the person lived their life
  • Mentioning of predeceased spouse, siblings or children.  Example: He is predeceased by his brother, Joseph Smith (2004) and his sister, Mary Robbins (2006).
  • Living relatives. Example: John will be missed by his loving family which includes his wife of 47 years, Jane (nee Clarke); two children, James (and Karen) Smith and Joan (and Dan) Carmichael; one sister, Sally (and Mike) Stevens; one brother, Bob Smith; eight grandchildren and one great grandson.   (We are seeing less and less of families listing hometowns of these living relatives – possibly due to expenses)

This next section would include all service and funeral details and is usually worded by your funeral director.  Example: Funeral Services will be held on Monday (Jan. 15th) at 10am in the SPILKER FUNERAL HOME, 815 Washington St., Cape May where there will be a viewing one hour prior to the service.  Interment will follow in XYZ Cemetery, Lower Township. 

The very last section usually involves whether or not you want to encourage the sending of flowers, or to suggest a memorial contribution in your loved one’s memory to a fund that is special to your family. Example: In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested in Jack’s memory to XYZ Fund, 123 Anywhere St., Anytown, US 00000.