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Obituaries don’t have to be all sad – Have some fun with them! 

Some of the more memorable obituaries you’ve seen likely have included at least a touch of humor to differentiate it from a typical obituary. When appropriate, humor can remind us of the life spirit the person displayed and why the world was a better place with them in it. 

While it’s not impossible to remember events and endearing personality traits during the stressful time immediately following a person’s passing, it is usually easier to think of humorous anecdotes ahead of time rather than working on an obituary under pressure at the time of death. In fact, obituaries written before death is even on the horizon can give the person (or you) the opportunity to have a say in the final product. 

I was working in a hospital marketing department back in the late 1990s when a coworker and I caught sight of a very funny obituary in the newspaper one day. We laughed out loud at the obvious joy with which the person featured lived their life. “When I die, I want my obituary to be like that,” my friend Kathie said. 

I took that statement as my marching orders and went home that night to craft just such an obituary. The next day, we went through the piece I had created and couldn’t stop laughing. I had filled it with a combination of funny stories that illustrated Kathie’s spirit as well as good-natured pokes at her ability to accidentally turn the mundane into something amusing. We were only in our thirties at the time, so we felt the freedom to really have fun with it. 

Mixing humor with a serious tone sets a comfortable balance 

My father suggested I get to work on an obituary for my mother in the week leading up to her impending death. In talking with my siblings, my brother shared a story from years ago that was just hilarious. It came at his expense and showed what a goofy personality my mother could have. Shy, she was not. 

I put together a first draft of an obituary that I thought was pretty good. Yet even though this was my mother and I knew her as well as anyone except maybe our dad, we still went through about six rounds of revisions before everyone was ready to give it their blessing. The time it takes to secure approvals from family members is another good reason to work on an obituary ahead of time if at all possible. 

“I loved being able to laugh through the tears when I read your mother’s obituary,” one of the mourners commented to me at the visitation prior to the funeral. That was exactly the sentiment I had hoped to generate. My mother’s death certainly was a sad occasion, but we didn’t want to lose sight of the fact her big personality often shone a bright light on the rest of us. You can read her obituary here. 

About is a service of professional obituary writer Mike Dauplaise. Contact me to produce your choice of written, audio and video versions of creative obituaries in advance or on short notice. All projects come with 100% satisfaction guarantee and unlimited revisions.