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How to Write an Impactful Obituary for a Father

Gabrielle Applebury
Sad man writing in the computer

It can feel overwhelming writing an obituary for your father after he has passed away. Using some simple tips and guidelines can help you create a beautiful obituary that honors the memory of your father.

How to Write an Obituary for a Father

Whether you are writing an obituary for a newspaper or for a website, there are a few tips you can keep in mind when creating a touching obituary for your father.

How to Start

Describe your father's full name, date of passing, birth year or age (may not choose to include full birthdate for security reasons), and birthplace. Always use your father's preferred gender pronouns and preferred name when writing the obituary. Doing so is respectful and validating of their identity. Discuss the details surrounding the passing briefly (if you choose to include that). For example:

"Kellan James Davis, 55, of Los Angeles, California, passed away unexpectedly on July 9th. He passed away on a solo camping trip due to a chronic medical condition."

Include Biographical Information

Include biographical information that offers a brief overview of your father's life. For example:

"Kellan graduated with honors from Pepperdine University and went on to become a marine biologist who was dedicated to protecting the oceans. In his spare time, he loved being outdoors, spending time with his family, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. Kellan wrote three books, two of which became bestsellers."

Personalize the Obituary As Space Allows

Discuss personality and traits briefly. Include a short story, meaningful poem, or favorite saying to personalize the obituary. For example:

"He was a kind and loving partner to his spouse Darryl, as well as an amazing father to their daughter Jada. Kellan's favorite saying was 'be kind', and this is exactly how he choose to live his life."

List Surviving Family Members

This information can be as detailed or as brief as desired. Most families list spouses and children, along with siblings and grandchildren. For example:

"Aside from being survived by his partner and daughter, Kellan also leaves behind his two parents, Jack and Kate Davis, as well as his dog."

Finish With Funeral and/or Donation Information

If the newspaper or obituary is printed before the services, include that information. If services were private or held previously, mention it so friends do not wonder. For example:

"The family held a private funeral last weekend and asks that any donations made in Kellan's honor go towards ocean preservation, or to a local animal shelter."

Obituary Examples for Fathers

After sharing biographical information, as well as noting the passing, you can focus on your father's impact on your life, as well as on the life of others. Keep in mind that even if you are including personal anecdotes about shared memories with your father, obituaries are typically written in third person. Short obituary examples:

From a Daughter or Son

"One of (insert deceased individual's name) biggest accomplishments was being a father. He had always wanted children and considered himself lucky enough to have two. His children, (insert children' names), called their dad a superhero, and even as adults, still see him that way. He was always there for them through their ups and downs, and taught them to enjoy every moment life has to offer."

Women looking at family photographs

For a Father-in-Law

"(Insert deceased individual's name) always aimed to make people feel welcome in their life, whether they were volunteering to help someone move, offering sage advice, or just being supportive to their loved ones (insert deceased individual's name) would often go above and beyond. When their daughter got married, they welcomed their son-in-law with open arms. Although they passed away before getting to meet their grandchild, the little one is named in (insert deceased individual's name) honor."

For a Step-Dad

"(Insert deceased individual's name) always wanted a big family, and when he remarried, he got his wish. His family of three grew to seven, and he absolutely loved being a father and "bonus" dad, as his step-children lovingly called him, to all of his children. As a family, their favorite activities included snowboarding, water skiing, and surfing."

For a Father Who Died Too Young

"(Insert deceased individual's name) passed away tragically in a car accident on his way to meet his partner at the hospital who was giving birth to their first child. Their daughter will be named after him to honor his kindness, confidence, strength, and amazing sense of humor."

For a Father Who Battled an Illness

"(Insert deceased individual's name) passed away due to (insert illness). Just like he dealt with all experiences in life, (insert deceased individual's name) managed his illness with strength and grace, and wanted to spend as much time with his loved ones as possible. On his final day, he was surrounded by his children, who he adored more than anything else in the world."

What to Write if Your Relationship Was Strained

If your relationship with your father was strained, focus on stating facts and details about your father's life, and know that you don't need to include personal anecdotes if you aren't comfortable doing so. Note that some surviving family members may not feel comfortable being listed in the obituary, so it's always best to check in with someone before including them. For example:

"(Insert deceased individual's name), (age), and (location), passed away on (date) due to (insert reason why if you'd like). (Insert deceased individual's name was a (insert a few adjectives) person who worked extremely hard. After graduating from (insert schooling), he went on to be a (insert career). He had a passion for (insert hobbies, passions). He is survived by (insert surviving family members' names). The funeral will take place on (insert date) at (insert location) at (insert time)."

Sample Obituary for Father

Using an obituary template can give you a great place to start if you would like some extra guidance in structuring your obituary. Download the printable image to create a customized obituary.

Obituary Example for Father

How Do You Write a Eulogy for Your Dad?

If you are in charge of writing the obituary for your father, you may also be tasked with writing a eulogy as well. Taking a look at sample eulogy speeches can help you format your own speech, while still leaving room for you to add your own unique touches.

How Do You Write a Meaningful Obituary?

Writing an obituary for your father can feel like a daunting task, especially if you are experiencing any symptoms of grief. Take your time, enlist the help of loved ones, and be kind to yourself during this time.

How to Write an Impactful Obituary for a Father