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Obituaries

Ruby Thacker
B: 1931-06-04
D: 2017-12-11
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Thacker, Ruby
Helen Bailey
B: 1937-10-15
D: 2017-12-10
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Bailey, Helen
Holiday Remembrance Service 2017
D: 2017-12-07
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2017, Holiday Remembrance Service
Dorothy "Dottie" Finizio
B: 1935-07-03
D: 2017-12-01
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Finizio, Dorothy "Dottie"
Esther Wilkin
B: 1921-09-09
D: 2017-11-21
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Wilkin, Esther
Joseph Hutcheson
B: 1977-09-12
D: 2017-11-16
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Hutcheson, Joseph
Robert "Bob" Gaeke
B: 1929-04-25
D: 2017-11-13
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Gaeke, Robert "Bob"
Frank Luhn
B: 1931-12-09
D: 2017-11-03
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Luhn, Frank
Verda Wilhelm
B: 1928-11-28
D: 2017-11-03
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Wilhelm, Verda
Teddy Cooper
B: 1941-05-15
D: 2017-11-01
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Cooper, Teddy
Emma Whitt
B: 1928-05-23
D: 2017-10-26
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Whitt, Emma
Charlotte "Dean" Staley
B: 1930-04-25
D: 2017-10-23
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Staley, Charlotte "Dean"
Lois Marshall
B: 1944-08-25
D: 2017-10-23
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Marshall, Lois
Beverly Peckolt
B: 1938-04-16
D: 2017-10-10
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Peckolt, Beverly
Caleigh Faith Hildebrandt
B: 1993-07-27
D: 2017-10-05
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Hildebrandt, Caleigh Faith
Dottie Hubbell
B: 1946-09-23
D: 2017-10-02
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Hubbell, Dottie
Hughie Russell
B: 1938-01-10
D: 2017-10-01
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Russell, Hughie
Robert Barnes
B: 1937-10-28
D: 2017-09-26
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Barnes, Robert
Donald Moore
B: 1919-08-11
D: 2017-09-25
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Moore, Donald
Eric Wright
B: 1969-01-01
D: 2017-09-25
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Wright, Eric
James White
B: 1934-02-01
D: 2017-09-21
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White, James

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How to Write a Eulogy

The writing and reading of a eulogy is, above all, the simple and elegant search for small truths. This can be surprisingly hard, to take notice of the smallest, most unpolished details of a life and set them up for us to stare at in the wonder of recognition.
Tom Chiarella, "How to Give a Eulogy"

how to write a eulogy funeral eulogy advice holding hands

How do you begin writing a funeral eulogy? Editor Carol DeChant explains, "Obituaries are usually mini-biographies, focused on what a person did, but the eulogy is much deeper, more about who the person was...It's meant for the select group of people who knew and cared for that person, or who care for the survivors."  

Funeral Eulogy Advice

Christina Ianzito, in "How to Write a Eulogy," offers these suggestions; many of them come from Garry Schaeffer's book, A Labor of Love: How to Write a Eulogy:

  1. Outline the funeral eulogy: In addition to helping you stay focused, an outline will keep your eulogy organized and effectively break down the task of writing into manageable pieces.
  2. Ask for the input of other family members and friends. They may be able to provide you with some great stories to share.
  3. Always try to share examples of the statements you make about your loved one. If you want to say, "she was generous with her time," tell a story that supports the statement.
  4. Do not focus too much on yourself. After all, this isn't a eulogy for you; keep your writing focused on your loved one. You may even want to ask others to read your first draft to make sure the focus is in the right place.
  5. Go for the humor. Shared laughter is a very healing experience so don't be afraid to make people laugh.
  6. Write the first draft. Don't fuss over every word; just get your ideas on paper.
  7. Put it aside for a while. This has, no doubt, been an emotional experience. Take some time away from the writing desk to get perspective and release stress or sorrow.
  8. Come back to edit and polish. This is the time to refine the eulogy into its final form.
  9. Print a legible copy of the eulogy, in a large font, to assist in the delivery of your well-chosen words. There's nothing worse than not being able to read your handwriting when you're standing in front of a crowd of people.

An Example of a Great Eulogy

An example of an excellent eulogy is the one Mona Simpson delivered for her brother Steve Jobs. The pair had never met until they were both adults in their twenties, however they quickly connected and formed a bond.

Although Jobs achieved international fame, the eulogy Simpson delivered did not touch much on his professional accomplishments but rather she painted a picture of him as a person. Her eulogy showcased his personality, love for his family, and his quirks that made him unique.

The eulogy is quite lengthy and can be read in full here.

We’ve collected a few excerpts from the eulogy to serve as an example of how to write a eulogy.

I want to tell you a few things I learned from Steve, during three distinct periods, over the 27 years I knew him. They’re not periods of years, but of states of being. His full life. His illness. His dying.

This first passage is a great example of outlining your eulogy. Mona outlines the three periods of Steve’s life that her eulogy will be focused around. By doing this, she not only gives herself some guidance when writing the eulogy, but also sets the stage for the audience by leaving it in the speech.

For an innovator, Steve was remarkably loyal. If he loved a shirt, he’d order 10 or 100 of them. In the Palo Alto house, there are probably enough black cotton turtlenecks for everyone in this church.

He didn’t favor trends or gimmicks. He liked people his own age.

His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”

Steve always aspired to make beautiful later.

He was willing to be misunderstood.

This second passage discusses some of the quirks that made Steve Jobs so unique. Rather than just making a statement about his unique qualities, Mona shares a story. She describes him as loyal and then uses the example of his black cotton turtlenecks that he was known for wearing so often. This is also a good example of how you can use humor in a eulogy. Mona does this when she makes the joke about him owning enough turtlenecks for everyone in the church to wear one.

Steve had been successful at a young age, and he felt that had isolated him. Most of the choices he made from the time I knew him were designed to dissolve the walls around him. A middle-class boy from Los Altos, he fell in love with a middle-class girl from New Jersey. It was important to both of them to raise Lisa, Reed, Erin and Eve as grounded, normal children. Their house didn’t intimidate with art or polish; in fact, for many of the first years I knew Steve and Lo together, dinner was served on the grass, and sometimes consisted of just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb.

Even as a young millionaire, Steve always picked me up at the airport. He’d be standing there in his jeans.

When a family member called him at work, his secretary Linetta answered, “Your dad’s in a meeting. Would you like me to interrupt him?”

In this section, Mona uses a few different examples to show how Steve Jobs was a family man first and foremost. Although many people knew him as a rich and successful innovator, Mona showcases how he wanted to stay grounded and made sure that he made his family his first priority. Instead of just sharing stories about what Steve did for her, she uses different examples that each convey the same message about who he was as a father and a person.

This final excerpt uses all of the points you want to include within a eulogy. It uses examples of great stories to support the message it is conveying while using humor effectively to lighten the mood and give people a chuckle.

Should you still find yourself in need of support, please give us a call at 937-848-6651. We will be delighted to help you write your eulogy and provide additional resources for help. 

Sources:
Chiarella, Tom, "How to Give a Eulogy"

Ianzito, Christina, "How to Write a Eulogy"

Simpson, M. (2011, October 30). A Sister's Eulogy for Steve Jobs. The New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com

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