Funeral Announcement Etiquette

Most funeral announcements are made through the community newspaper, and certain funeral announcement etiquette rules should be followed. When someone passes away, it is common to make some sort of announcement to the community of that fact, as well as to share the funeral arrangement information. Learn how to word a proper funeral announcement that preserves the memory of the deceased without giving out any personal or private information.

Basic Information: Start with the notification that a death has occurred. There is no need to go into details of the circumstances of death; a general mention will do. Many announcements begin this way: "Jane Doe passed away on January 1, 2002, at the age of 86." Give the deceased's full name (including middle names and a maiden name for females), the date they passed and their age, if appropriate.

Family Members: The next part of the funeral announcement should note the close relatives of the deceased, generally a spouse, if applicable. If the deceased is a child or an unmarried adult, it is proper to list the parents as the closest kin. This portion can read like this: "She was the devoted wife of John," or "He was the son of John and Jane Doe of Smithfield, Utah." Many funeral announcements also list any children of the deceased at this point.

The Life of the Deceased: The middle of a funeral announcement is more flexible. It is appropriate to summarize the life of the deceased in a sentence or two, but it should not be a platform to list all the accomplishments and attributes. Some simple examples are: "Jane was a devoted wife and mother and volunteered in the community in a number of organizations" or "John worked at the Lakeside Hospital as an anesthesiologist for nearly 35 years."

Funeral Arrangements: Details about the funeral should be specific and clear. Any information on a viewing or wake should be listed first, including the location, date and time. Funeral information should follow, again with the location, date and time. If any of the services are private and for family only, proper funeral etiquette for the announcements is to simply state: "Private funeral services will be held" or "The family will hold private services."

Charitable Donations: Finally, any modifications to traditional funeral behavior should be listed in the newspaper announcement. For example, many people do not care to have flowers sent to the funeral home and would instead rather see the money for expensive sprays sent to the deceased's favorite charity. It is good funeral etiquette to include this at the end of the funeral announcement: "In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the American Cancer Society."

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