What Makes an Obituary Go Viral and a Eulogy Memorable?

Feb 27, 2014 | 2 comments

Ivan H. Charbonneau and Harry Stamps had obituaries that made them famous. Their newspaper death notices described “ordinary” people in extraordinary ways. Since obituaries are frequently read at funerals, why not make an obituary double as a great eulogy that might also go viral on the Internet?

If you don’t regularly speak in public, how do you make the eulogy memorable? What can ordinary people do to honor the memory of those they love?

Rosalyn Kahn
Rosalyn Kahn

Rosalyn Kahn, professional speaker and coach joins host Gail Rubin on A Good Goodbye Radio to discuss creating a great eulogy and obituary.

Topics include:

  • How to make a personality come to life in the obituary death notices
  • The four parts of writing a eulogy
  • The four R’s of any good funeral or memorial service
  • Ways to collect information for obituaries or eulogies
  • How to avoid breaking down when delivering a eulogy

Video: How to Write the Best Obituary Possible

Writing your own obituary can be a wonderful exercise in self-discovery. Petra Orloff, founder of the obituary writing service Beloved, provides insights into what makes a great life story. These short stories also make great eulogies. She spoke at the 2019 Before I Die New Mexico Festival.

How to Write the Best Obituary Possible

How do you write an obituary that’s engaging, enlightening, and fun to read? Consider these tips.

Obituary Writing Tips

Orloff provided an outline of tips and questions to draw upon. Here are a few examples:

  1. Outline the obituary like a news story, including the elements of Who, What, Where, When and How.
  2. Include information about memorial service details and important relationships.
  3. Use questions to help draw out stories and words of wisdom.

A free five-page PDF with the full listing of tips and questions is available from Beloved for download. Simply fill in this form and you will be redirected to the document.

Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is author of the award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. Host of A Good Goodbye television series and Internet radio show, she is a Certified Thanatologist (that’s a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the funeral planning conversation started. She’s also a Certified Funeral Celebrant, funeral planning consultant, and insurance agent.

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her website is www.AGoodGoodbye.com.

A Good Goodbye