Guide to Writing Obituaries:

An obituary will stand as perhaps the only narrative record of an individual's life, and will be referenced by generations to come.  An obituary for a family member or close friend may be the most difficult thing to write.  But we hope we can make it a little easier by providing these hints to guide you. It may help to check our current obituary listings at www.omaha.com  to get some ideas before you start. 
  
While every obituary is as individual as the person being memorialized, there are some basic guidelines to the order of the obituary.

Tips:

Last of all – focus on the life lived – not the death. Remember, an obituary will stand as perhaps the only narrative record of your loved ones' life. You can be sure it reflects the person you knew and loved.

 

Format style:

DECEASED'S NAME

Examples:     Smith, John Jacob
Smith, John J. “Duke”
Smith, John J., Jr.
Smith, Rev. John J., Jr.
Smith, John J., Jr., TSgt, USAF, Ret.
Smith, Mary Lou (Jones)
Smith, Mary “Sis” (Jones)

OBITUARY TEXT

Do not use the word “of” as part of the city; unless it is a group – “all of”.

Use a semi-colon between family relationships:  brothers; sisters; nieces; etc.

Use a lower-case letter for the family relationship:  husband, parents, etc.

Use a comma between family relationship and name: husband, Bob;

Use am and pm for the times and no spaces:  10am, 11:30am, 4-8pm, 12noon-2pm
Do not use AM or PM or A.M. or P.M.

CAPITALIZE THE FOLLOWING AND DO NOT ABBREVIATE:

VISITATION or VIEWING
FUNERAL SERVICE
MEMORIAL SERVICE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE
GRAVESIDE SERVICES
MASS
MEMORIAL MASS
FUNERAL MASS
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL

Do not use all caps or abbreviate interment, inurnment, burial, memorials.

Do not capitalize common words in text such as death, family, mother, father, brother.  

Spell out days and months in the text:   August not Aug  and Monday not Mon.

Do not use ampersands.  Use the word “and”.

Replace dashes in the text with appropriate punctuation.

Do not use fractions for ½ hour; change to one-half hour and do not abbreviate “hour”.

When there is a city and state after someone’s name:  Jane Doe, Omaha, NE; Use the standard 2 letter abbreviation for the state.  The state abbreviation is not necessary in subsequent references to the city throughout the text after it has appeared once.

For Pending Notices: 
Use all caps for:
COMPLETE NOTICE LATER
FUNERAL NOTICE LATER
SERVICES PENDING
or others to that effect

 

Obituaries and photographs submitted to the Omaha World Herald may be published, distributed, repurposed and otherwise used in print, electronic and other media platforms.