Funeral announcements, intended to announce a person's death and funeral details, can be done tastefully when given a little thought. By sharing the news of your loved one's death, you allow others to share in your grief and make their own arrangements to attend the final service. Annoucements can be published in different publications, and can also be emailed or mailed to friends, family and guests. Here are some helpful guidelines to assist you in creating an appropriate funeral announcement:
Preparing funeral announcements for publication
Most funeral announcements are published in the deceased's hometown newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with meeting the local newspaper's guidelines. If the person who has died spent most of their life in another area and will be buried there, you may wish to publish their funeral announcement in that town's newspaper, instead. (Also See Newspaper Obituaries)
- A funeral announcement is not an obituary: Rather than giving an extended overview of the deceased's life, a funeral announcement should briefly share:
- The person's full name, date of death and perhaps their age ("Michael James Whitmore passed away on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at the age of 70.")
- Immediate family relationships ("Married for 40 years to wife, Sarah, he was also the father of Emily (Allenbaugh), Joe and Richard Whitmore.")
- A one sentence statement of who they were (for example, "Mr. Whitmore served for 37 years in the United States Army.")
- The date, time and location for the funeral or memorial service ("Services to be held Saturday, January 16, at 10 a.m. at Christchurch, Newcastle, RI")
- Cause of Death (Optional) The decision to share the cause of death is yours. It isn't mandatory, as close friends and loved ones are probably aware of the circumstances, and they need't be shared publicly. Such wording as "after a brief illness" or "as the result of an accident" are discreet and sufficient.
- Special information can be shared briefly in funeral announcements: Any other information that would be helpful to those planning to attend or honor the deceased with a memorial can be shared succinctly in the funeral announcement. For example, if a specific memorial request is made by the family or if a private service will be held.
- An announcement can be made even when no service will be held: In the event a service has already been held, or none is planned, it is still appropriate to announce your loss. For example, you might say, "Jeffrey Jones, noted local bicycle racing enthusiast, died as a result of a traffic accident on Friday, March 13, 2010. He was 25 years old. His wife, Sarah, parents Jon and Mary, and siblings Jake and Anna wish to thank all those who helped make Jeffrey's brief life a joy. Memorial donations to the American Humane Society are suggested. Private services have been held."
Printed Funeral Announcements
Creating printed funeral announcements: Another way the family of the deceased can be sure close friends and family know of the funeral details is to create a printed funeral announcement to be given:
- To those who call on the family at home
- To those who attend a viewing at the funeral home
- Within your loved one's place of worship, if appropriate
It is now possible, given printing technology, to create and print tasteful funeral announcement or funeral program cards personalized with a photo of the deceased and a bit of scripture or poetry. Look online for funeral printing services with inexpensive, downloadable templates to be personalized, if that's something you would like to do.
Taking the time to announce publicly the loss of a loved one is a considerate way to include others impacted by their life. Funeral announcements do not need to be elaborate. A basic funeral announcement sharing the fact of your family member's death, a brief overview of their life and the details of any final arrangements is sufficient. Publishing this type of announcement locally and preparing a printed announcement to distribute should suffice to inform others that someone special has passed away.
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