The Globe and Mail
I am the obituaries editor at The Globe and Mail.
I am employed as a philosopher. My research focuses on values, virtues and well-being. One of the ways I investigate these topics is by text-mining obituaries.
Short fiction writer
I am a short fiction writer, with an interest in obituaries. I see great beauty in the simple lives of our fellow travellers through this life, and enjoy knowing about their experiences, loves and interests, as they move onto the next great adventure. I have a certificate in professional writing, and have studied creative writing in many forms. Currently, I am enrolled at Western University, in London, Ontario.
Donna Leah Alvis
Having worked in the Kingsport Times News obituary department for five years, I felt qualified to start my own obituary writing service, Obit Options. Since opening my business, I have written or edited obituaries from all over the United States and Canada. Sometimes grieving families want to write a special obit for their loved ones but can’t find the words. I can help with this. I’m also experienced in working with funeral directors and understand the urgency of newspaper deadlines. My mission is to provide clients with a quality obituary and compassionate service. I also write eulogies, tributes and life stories.
I’ve been writing for OutSmart Magazine, Houston’s LGBT media outlet for more than 20 years. During that time I’ve penned dozens of obituaries for community leaders, artists, activists and longtime members of Houston’s LGBT community. Rather than just give the standard recitation of life events, I seek to interview several people about the deceased and their relationship to them, providing a full and inclusive picture of the deceased’s life. I worked in HIV treatment and prevention for 20 years — during that time I came to realize how important detailed and sensitivity written tributes were, especially in situations where the deceased might’ve been estranged from his or her family. Many times the information I included was unknown to the family and they developed a deeper appreciation, unfortunately, posthumously. I’ve always considered it a great honor to be asked to write an obituary. I think it’s one of the most unique and valuable things a writer can do. In an era where information is consumed and quickly discarded, I know that a properly written remembrance will be kept (by someone) for decades.
I have been in advertising 45 years and a freelance journalist for nearly 60 years. I interviewed Johnny Mathis in 1959 and covered a day at Squaw Olympics in 1960. I have done in-depth study of priesthood interviewing a dozen or more Catholic priests and wrote an article from in-depth study of life of a monk at Vina Monastery. I have written feature stories on a blind youth, a teen horse jockey with terminal cancer, a hospice patient and much more. I have written many obituaries of family and friends and am now working at it.
Licensed funeral director and embalmer in the states of Indiana (2006) and Michigan (2012). Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (2018). AS Mortuary Science, Vincennes University (2005). Bachelors of Arts & Science, Liberal Studies, Indiana University (anticipated May 2019)
As a newspaper reporter for more than 25 years, I wrote dozens of obituaries. I learned to appreciate the importance of well-researched and well-written obits, both as public records and as family histories to be preserved for future generations. As most newspapers now charge plenty for running obits, it is essential that every word "tell." I enjoy helping people assemble and present their deceased loved ones' life stories, and I work hard to provide high quality personal service.
R Thomas Berner
Freelance Writer and Photographer
Retired journalism professor and now a freelance writer and photographer.
The Washington Post
President of SPOW
Adam Bernstein has spent his career putting the "post" in The Washington Post, first as an obituary writer and then as editor. The American Society of Newspaper Editors recognized Bernstein’s ability to exhume “the small details and anecdotes that get at the essence of the person” and to write stories that are “complex yet stylish.” He is also featured in Marilyn Johnson’s book about the obit-writing craft, “The Dead Beat.”
I've been a small town reporter on the East side of the Sierra Nevada range for 15 years, a resident for 35. Writing obituaries in a small town requires patience and finesse in both the interviews and the content. These are usually people and families I know, for sometimes for decades and will see and maybe call on again. Currently I am employed with The Sheet newspaper in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., an independent weekly covering Inyo and Mono counties. I write all the obituaries, about 2 to 5 a month, save when the publisher wants to scribe one. I have also written for the Inyo Register and the Ridgecrest Daily Independent. My stories and pics have been appeared in papers and local news channels throughout Southern California.
Freelance obituary writer
For 15 years I wrote obituaries for weeklies in Marin County, Calif. -- the Point Reyes Light and the West Marin Citizen. I took home several National Newspaper Association awards, along with SPOW's 2011 Lifetime Achievement honor. I also taught an adult-ed class, "Write Your Own Obituary," setting a humorous tone for a weighty subject.
I have a B.A. and M.A. in history with experience working as a freelance proofreader and copy editor for several occasions for numerous years for postgraduate students, working professionals and families who have requested obituary writing services. I look forward to be given the opportunity to serve as an independent contractor for funeral homes and newspaper publications in the United States.
Deputy Obituaries Editor
The Daily Telegraph, London
Tim Bullamore is an award-winning obituary writer, specialising in the obituaries of classical musicians for the Daily Telegraph in London, a newspaper famous for its entertaining treatment of obituary subjects. He was shortlisted for the British Press Awards in 2002 and 2016 and won a SPOW award in 2007. He has given entertaining lectures on the art of obituary writing at Columbia University, New York, Haverford College, Philadelphia, the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and City University, London.
Tony Lamair Burks II
Dr. Tony Lamair Burks II first learned the art and craft of storytelling from his four grandparents in lower Alabama. He is an award-winning education expert who coaches and trains leaders for excellence as chief learning officer of LEADright. His stories about school and life have appeared in newspapers, blogs and books around the world. He has written six books and contributed to four. He is passionate about helping others tell their stories. For over a quarter of a century, he has written, co-written and ghost-written obituaries and funeral orations. He has served as the interim director of a publishing house, and he currently leads a series of interactive workshops -- Unleashing Your Untold Healing Story and Writing Your Story -- to help others unearth and release stories that have been held deep within.
Historian, writer, digital project manager
Historicity Consulting Services
I’m an independent historian, writer, and digital project manager. I own and operate Historicity Consulting Services, a multi-service historical research, writing and digital projects agency.
I am an editor and sometimes writer at Legacy.com, where for the past decade I have helped develop award-winning editorial content and grief support communities. Outside of work, I am a mother to two cunningly brilliant kids, human companion of three kooky cats and life partner of one absent-minded professor.
I currently write a magazine column which is based on reality, written with humility, laced with humor and tied together with the occasional nugget of diesel-fueled wisdom. I've worked for years in the funeral business, public safety and transportation.
Obituaries are tangible artifacts of family history and should be accurate, concise and respectful. They can also be innovative, humorous, and empathetic.
Shannon Hogan Cohen
Storytelling has always had a special place in my heart and has provided me a safe place to listen, learn and laugh over the years. As a freelance writer, I have been published in various media outlets - from community and grassroots advocacy, to travel literature and personal narrative. Working with Hospice for 10 years has provided me great healing (my father died when I was 11 years old), insight and has been one of my top gratifying endeavors besides raising my two sons, ages 19 and 20. In this next chapter of my life, I would like to show how the stories of our lives interweave with other lives -- this tapestry often offers answers to our questions and those of others. Obituary writing is going to be my next contribution to the human spirit.
My thesis for my MA in professional communication was on obituaries and this research has peeked my curiosity on the subject. I have not written obituaries before, but am interested in seeing obituaries written in a manner that reflect gender equality. Otherwise, my background is in operations and productivity improvement including Lean consulting
Historian with an interest in and emphasis on the medical cause of death of persons of note and of their children as well, from death in infancy to death as an adult child of a living parent. A child's obituary stands as one of the more powerful and unnerving testaments a parent might be forced to grapple with in their own lifetime
Writer, editor, intuitive coach
Harvard Girl Word Services
I am a longtime editor, author, book designer, self-publishing consultant and the sole proprietor of Harvard Girl Word Services. Since the death of my husband in 2012, I have also worked in the field of intuitive coaching based on my book, articles and interviews on the sensitive and powerful subject of healing and processing grief after the death of a loved one. I am the facilitator of a monthly gathering called the Bandon Afterlife Meetup where we discuss everything from whether an "afterlife" exists to ways we can live a more joyous existence as the incredibly gifted humans we tend to forget we are. If you are looking for a beautifully crafted obituary that is written from a place of compassion and pure loving intention, an obituary that honors your loved one by capturing the essence of his or her uniquely stunning life on earth, look no further. My writing is personal, powerful and profound.
Fran Coode Walsh
The United Methodist Church
Currently content supervisor for The United Methodist Church's website, umc.org, I also have an extensive background as a video producer. In my previous job with "Crook and Chase," I produced several obituaries of entertainers such as Dinah Shore and Minnie Pearl. Both personally and professionally I respect obituaries as a challenge to writers which should capture the essence of a unique life and give readers a good idea of what it was like to be around the deceased. I also try to ask interviewees the kinds of questions that could add more meaning and texture to their own life stories as needed. And I very much enjoy a well-crafted obituary.
I've co-owned several bookshop cafes, have a doctorate from the University of Technology, Sydney, and taught undergraduate Writing courses. I have written two novels ('The Glass Heart', HarperCollins, 2000 and 'Bone Ash Sky', 2013, Hardie Grant, UK and Australia)as well as a prize-winning novella, 'Intimate Distance'(TEXT), short stories and articles. I currently blog on life, death and dying for Huffington Post Australia and am working on my next novel.
Diane M. Craig
Years ago, an elderly man approached me about writing his obituary. Sadly, he died before we could accomplish his wish but the idea of writing one’s obit in advance stuck. The two-plus years I spent working in the obituary dept. for the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s largest newspaper, reinforced that idea. Daily I spoke with funeral dDirectors and people who lost a spouse, sibling, parent or child. Most were at a loss of what to say and some treated the obituary as a way of addressing family wrongs, slights and grudges. Writing one’s own obituary, in advance, eliminates stress for family members and ensures the deceased will be remembered the way they’d want to be remembered. Further, as a writer and historian, I am drawn to the genre as a way to respect the dead and chronicle a life.
I've been with Legacy.com since 2000, and I've filled a lot of roles there -- customer service representative, training manager, client services -- but my first task was writing obituaries, and it's what I do with most of my time now. I write for our Notable Deaths section, providing long-form obituaries for celebrities and other notable people.
Carmel Dagan went to Harvard and worked for entertainment industry bible Variety for 16 years, and during the last five he wrote more than 300 advanced obituaries, a number of which were, of course, published on Variety.com with the deaths of their subjects. Dagan also wrote current obituaries.
Journalist for 50 years. Foreign correspondent for Brit media for most of that time. War correspondent for much of that time. Been writing obits since 2005 until now (2019) for ... Financial Times, the Guardian, the Times of London, the Daily Telegraph (London), the Independent (London), the Scotsman, the Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), the NYT and for the last few years the Washington Post.
Jane Waggoner Deschner
I'm a visual artist, based in Billings, Montana, who embroiders text and images into found photographs. My current, on-going project is "Remember me: a collective narrative in found words and photographs." In it I integrate vernacular photographs with statements culled from family/friend-written obituaries. Hand-embroidering text into photos intimately merges the two together. The photos “read” the texts and vice versa, teasing pretension, tragi-comedy and profound truths about the human condition from sentimental artifacts. This project, ultimately, intimately, illustrates our collective narrative. And in so doing, importantly reminds us, in this acrimonious age, of our commonalities.
Author, freelance writer, journalism teacher
Ryerson University's School of Journalism, Toronto
For three years, I wrote obits of allegedly ordinary people for the Toronto Star, the happiest gig of my 25 plus years there -- and that includes movie reviewing and interviewing real live stars. What was Tom Cruise really like? I'm not saying, other than to confirm he is indeed short. Obit writing was also the gig that made the most impact with readers, even though I was also the first Cdn reporter to cover homelessness and wrote major features on everything from Romanian orphans to Princess Di in New York City. What else? I've written books -- fiction and nonfiction -- lots of magazine articles, a four-part radio mystery play and a couple of episodes of a Canadian television series.
Former chief content officer
Hayes joined Legacy.com in 2000, after many years working at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, her hometown. She also was a project writer for People magazine. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Hayes spent a year at the University of Michigan as a Knight Wallace Fellow for mid-career journalists. She has taught at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where a key assignment for students is to write an obituary.
I am a technical writer, researcher, proofreader and editor. I wrote obituaries for Gannett Publishing Company in Melbourne, Florida. Also, known as Florida Today Newspaper. I have also conducted interviews and fact checked the obituaries.
Senior content producer
I am a senior content producer at Legacy.com, where I curate multimedia tributes to notable lives. I also digitally spin songs as a disc jockey at WNUR; I am a reformed lawyer and have been a green home realtor and a band manager. Always searching for a good slice of New York pizza in the land of Chicago deep dish.
Beyond the Dash
Brigitte Ganger is the head writer and editor at Beyond the Dash. Beyond the Dash is a digital obituary site for families to share and celebrate the life stories of their loved ones. Brigitte writes monthly Dash from the Past obituary features, edits user-submitted obituaries and publishes obituary-related blog posts four times per week.
Holly Shreve Gilbert
Journalist and instructor
Holly Shreve Gilbert, an instructor of journalism and professional journalist, has been teaching writing and media design at Oakland University since 1994. She also serves as the professional adviser to The Oakland Post, the independent campus newspaper, and is the chief curriculum adviser for the journalism program. Holly is also a champion of the art of obituary writing. She has written journalistic obituaries and teaches the form – which she considers a perfect microcosm of reporting and story-telling skills – in her writing classes at OU. She has also written extensively about the history of the obituary and the demise of it's presence in the historical archive. Captivated by digital technology and the endless possibilities it offers for journalistic storytelling and other forms of communication, Holly utilizes it in her classrooms as well as in her work for the Funeral Consumers Alliance, where she serves as secretary to the board of trustees and for the Funeral Consumers Information Society, where she serves as interim president. She's really not a gloomy person, just interested in getting people to talk candidly about something we're all going to do.
Yvette M. Giles, EdD, who has graduate degrees in journalism and education, is a former assistant director of an award-winning learning support center at a four-year state college in Florida, where she worked for seven years. She maintains a level 3 (of four) learning center leadership certification through the National College Learning Center Association. Yvette also worked as an adjunct assistant professor of English at Santa Fe College in Gainesville. And shortly before this assignment, Giles completed a television documentary film as her master’s thesis project at the University of Florida, entitled CANNONBALL: The Life and Legacy of Julian Adderley, about the legendary jazz saxophonist. Yvette produced the film’s gala standing-room-only premiere in New Orleans at the Zeitgeist Museum of Art and penned the article “Cannonball Remembered on Film” (2001) for Jazz Improv magazine. Yvette now works on a freelance basis, submitting articles for publication in magazines and newspapers, with a primary focus on obituaries and feature articles about the deceased.
David W. Goins
Writer and tutor
Creative writing certificate San Juan College, Farmington N.M.
Barbara E. Goodman
Freelance Profile Writer
Barbara is an award-winning journalist and freelancer whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine. She was a features and profile writer for the Toledo Blade and a columnist for American Airline’s in-flight magazine. She holds an MBA in marketing and organizational behavior from Northwestern University, an MFA in narrative non-fiction from Goucher College, and a BA in literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Her online advice book, Eventually It Starts to Make Sense, can be found here.
A seasoned journalist, who gradated from the University o f Missouri Columbia School of Journalism, at a time when obits were still freebies and part of the news content. Years later, the obits and I have gone from the newsroom to the classified department, bringing in the revenue needed to keep our paper -- the states largest -- in print.
I am two years out of college with an English degree. I am pursuing a career in writing and starting a business writing obituaries.
James R. (Bob) Hagerty
The Wall Street Journal
A native of North Dakota, I have worked as a reporter and editor for The Wall Street Journal for more than 35 years. I also enjoyed (mostly) five years at the International Herald Tribune. I have lived as a journalist in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, London, Brussels, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. In 2016, the WSJ assigned me to write obituaries nearly full time. I'm the founder of a Scrabble club and am usually found playing softball or pickleball if not tapping something into my computer.
After working as a reporter for the Hartford Courant during its heyday (we had advertisements and subscribers and a large staff), I retired. A few months later I was asked to write a feature obit of someone interesting in Connecticut. I've been writing "Extraordinary Life" every week for 16 years. Best assignment I ever had.
Tom is a bookseller at Munro's Books in Victoria, B.C., Canada. He is a widely published freelance newspaper and magazine writer. He is honored to have won six Grimmies over the year. A collection of his obits, titled "Deadlines" (Harbour Publishing), was released in 2012.
San Antonio Express-News
I've been working at the San Antonio Express-News for almost 20 years and was asked to start writing feature obituaries almost five years ago. Having written almost 1000 life stories -- including about many World War II veterans, a 5-year-old cancer patient who strove to make other hospital-bound children more comfortable, and a woman who raised 10 children and went to work as a teacher's aid after losing her husband -- I feel like I've gotten to experience all those other lives. I feel lucky that the EN still thinks feature obits are important enough to dedicate space seven days a week.
Di loves "life stories" -- which is really what obituaries are. As a member of the Society of Women Writers Queensland Australia, she promotes the writing of stories of women. She notes that the newspapers feature most obituaries about men - and encourages the writing of more stories of women. She does workshops on writing an advanced obituary - and introducing humour into obits.
Long time writer moving to late middle age. Hospice care and obituary writing. It's as much about me as it is about them
Following a 20 year career as a federal criminal investigator, I retired and now writing my family history in creative nonfiction form. As a community volunteer, I offer obituary writing services for residents and their pets.
Being just 18, and coming out of high school, writing for school newspapers doesn't grant me any significant experience in journalism. But just the same, with a natural love and skill I've claimed and practiced, I can assure whom it may concern I'm capable of producing as well as presenting respectable and compassionate obituaries.
I was a writer for organized labor and have always been a purveyor of the written word in all forms. I am currently working on my MFA in creative writing at Mississippi University for Women. I should graduate from that esteemed institution of learning in June 2020 in or about my 70th birthday
Your Final Say
I am an educator and CEO and owner of Your Final Say, LLC, an obituary planning and writing services. As my company grows, I plan to employ other experienced writers to write obituary for the living and deceased.
Amy R. Kaufman
Journalist, book editor and
Amy R. Kaufman is a journalist, book editor and small publisher in Portland, Ore. "Stories," her quarterly magazine for the short story, received several honors during its 13-year run. “The Christmas Wife” was made into a TV movie starring Jason Robards and Julie Harris; another story was chosen by John Updike for "The Best American Short Stories" (Houghton Mifflin); and a third appeared in "The O. Henry Prize Awards" (Doubleday). For 12 years, Kaufman wrote hard news, features and obituaries for Jewish Review. She has published books by several authors under the imprint Writings. Jack Rabin M.D. and Amy R. Kaufman are co-authors of the book "Ultrasound and Autism: What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know" (Medical Discourse).
ABC News (Australia)
I work as a digital producer with ABC News (Australia) where, unfortunately, I do not get to write as many obits as I'd like! However, the newsroom knows I am a fan and when possible, I get a chance to write one for an Australian identity. I have been involved in the organisation's project, In Memory Of, for the last two years, which is as close to a regular obituary 'column' we have. I've also written a couple of freelance obits for Australian newspapers. I do love to read other's obits and I am always keen to learn how to improve and also, how to entice the ABC to create an obituaries desk - and make me the editor of it! #dreaming
Linda provide a full spectrum of writing and editing services for business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets. She specializes in articles, content, technical documents and marketing collateral that promote, explain or enliven a variety of subjects, and authored more than a dozen books and 3,000+ articles. She teaches seminars on business writing and editing, and partners with designers to provide full-service creative solutions. She has received dozens of awards from institutions such as the Addys and Broadcast Designers Association, and collaborated with clients such as The World Bank, IBM, Washington Business Journal, Smithsonian and Discovery Networks.
I'm a freelance copywriter helping solopreneurs and small businesses with personality to find the best language to describe exactly what they do and who they are to their target market. I specialize in About pages and bios.
Helping others memorialize their loved one during an incredibly stressful time... This is the service Catherine provides her clients. Through a series of thoughtful questions, Catherine helps the grieving family uncover what they really want to say about their loved one who has passed away. One size does not fit all! That is the maxim Catherine lives by. Through a simple (short) interview, your loved one's true spirit will be captured and put into words that can comfort, or help others grieve, or generate laughter and fond memories. The tone is always up to you, the client. Earning a BA in English Literature from UCLA, writing occasionally for the Dallas Morning News and working in Human Resources for many years have helped Catherine hone her writing craft. But it is her love of history and the people who have made it, as well as empathy for those of us left alone after a death that drives her love of this work.
Working in Northern Canada as a journalist, I found the best stories -- the ones that touched the most people and made me feel human again -- were the ones about death.
The Washington Post
Obituary writer for The Washington Post.
Los Angeles Times
I've been a journalist for more than 15 years, most notably at the Las Vegas Sun, where I covered crime. For the last two years, I've been a reporter at the Philadelphia Obituary Project. This is a non-profit effort to honor the victims of homicide in the City of Philadelphia. I speak to family members and friends of the victims in order to put human faces on the statistics, and I'm also involved in the victim advocacy community. In addition to this, I am a full-time content editor and writer for a digital marketing company.
Award-winning professional journalist, with 30-plus years feature writing and editing experience at daily newspapers across the country. In 2009, I founded and co-owned Home Page Media Group in Brentwood, TN, an online news service covering the suburbs of Nashville, TN. I believe everyone has a story to tell, in life and in death. In early 2018, I launched a professional obituary writing service to bring life into an individual's death notice. I specialize in interviewing individuals long before they or their families think an obituary will be needed. Because life is short, and tomorrow is never guaranteed.
Chilkat Valley News
Since 1996 Heather Lende has written over 400 obituaries for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska. She is also the author of three books about her life and work published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill: New York Times bestselling "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name", "Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs," and most recently "Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-town Obituary Writer." Her her columns and essays have been distributed widely in newspapers, radio, and magazines.
I am a former journalist now working in a related field and I’m interested in starting a professional obituary writing business.
Journalist and editor
The Associated Press
I work for The Associated Press in Washington, DC, where I am a desk editor and help coordinate the prepared obits, working with the editors, beat writers and other bureaus, I formerly was a national political writer in DC, Florida political writer and news editor in Florida and South Carolina. Before that, I worked at The State newspaper, The Columbia Record and The Lancaster News, all in South Carolina.
Copy editor and letters editor
The Cape Cod Times (since 1998)
Previously (in reverse order): copy editor, New Haven Register; managing editor, Connecticut Law Tribune; assistant night city editor, Poughkeepsie Journal; reporter, columnist and night city editor, The Day, New London, CT; reporter, Journal Inquirer, Manchester, CT.
CBS Sunday Morning
Since my inception to the team five years ago, I've been involved with our annual Hail and Farewell, a massive obituary treatment that features those who've passed in the year gone by.
I am the senior editor for Leatherneck magazine. For the past five years, I have written the In Memoriam column for the publication. Known as the "Magazine of Marines," Leatherneck prints obituaries of Marines killed on active duty (in combat or training incidents), noteworthy Marines who made their mark in Marine Corps history, and the average (GI) Joe. Lately, I have dedicated quite a few column inches to writing about recently recovered and identified remains of Marines killed in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Freelance editor/researcher and scholar
Beyond the Dash
I am an independent scholar, a freelance editor-researcher, and a periodically published literary critic, biographical essayist, and poet.
Katharine Blossom Lowrie
Self-employed/White & Day Mortuaries
A resident of Redondo Beach, Calif., Kathy was a feature-writer on three newspapers before freelancing for the LA Times, LA Magazine and others. Primarily an entertainment reporter, she turned to obituaries after writing about her mom’s passing in 1993. Friends soon asked her to write obituaries for them. “The joy came in discovering those definitive quirks, the little nuances that fleshed out living, breathing individuals,” she says. “Obituaries are more about life than death.” A drama major at the University of Arizona, Kathy studied writing at Columbia School of Journalism, UCLA and Oxford and is the author of two novels.
C. Mack Lundstrom
Retired obit writer
I grew up on a small Nebraska daily that promised readers at least two free mentions in the paper, their birth and death. I still believe that's a small-paper obligation. My final job in the nearly 30 years at the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News was writing usually one daily 800-or-so-word obit — best job I ever had. Advising the Spartan Daily at San Jose State University, where I still try to cajole an obit out of every student reporter, ranks a close second.
Susan Ferrier MacKay
The Globe and Mail
As an entertainment reporter, I once held up a note to actor Jack Nicholson asking if he wanted to dance. He shook his head then turned to the man beside him saying, "Pity she used the wrong verb." I've alternated between writing for magazines and producing for national television all my working life. I just received an offer for my first novel from Harper Collins.
Los Angeles Times
Twice obituary editor. Formerly assistant editor on foriegn/nation desk and primary editor on year-long series of stories on corruption in the city of Bell in southeast LA, which won the Pultizer for public service in 2011. Hopeless Dodger fan.
Obituary writer/marketing professional
Most recently, to further that passion for communications, I have refocused my energy and efforts by starting The Last Word, a full-service marketing communications company that helps both small and large businesses effectively communicate their value to their customers. According to my late husband, The Last Word is a perfect name for my business, considering how I strive to perfect copy and messaging, and of course, also considering my outgoing personality. For the small business, The Last Word works as an "as needed" marketing communications department, working with a network of seasoned professionals to design and print or post marketing materials. For larger businesses, The Last Word augments existing staffs during overload times, providing that oh so important "extra set of eyes." For my friends and family, I help them with personal writing, which includes obituaries. I have improved many over the past few years.
I have had a varied career over the past 40 years and most of my work has been associated with either death or writing. I have worked in pre-need cemetery sales, as an ordained minister, final expense insurance agent and a small-town journalist during which time I wrote the majority of my paper's featured obituaries. I am now seeking to develop a personalized obituary and eulogy writing service. I believe that death is the most personal experience anyone can know; something which all of us should prepare for ourselves, rather than leaving to someone else to tend to the arrangements at a time when they are already dealing with stress and grief.
After writing a guide book to the cemeteries of Hollywood -- "Hollywood Remains to Be Seen" -- I became interested in telling the stories of celebrities and non-celebrities on my website.
Writer and video producer
I have worked at Legacy.com in various roles for over 10 years and currently write and produce video content. I also help curate and write obituaries featured in Legacy’s National Spotlight. Videos I have produced have been featured on websites like Funny or Die and screened in various film festivals. I am based in Los Angeles where I occasionally perform in improv comedy shows when I venture from my home office.
I am a book publisher and marketing consultant. I have a career in writing and I am just getting into wanting to do obituaries.
I'm a freelance copywriter helping solopreneurs and small businesses with personality to find the best language to describe exactly what they do and who they are to their target market. I specialize in About pages and bios.
Earlene McKee is the Memorial Services Coordinator with LBR Solutions, LLC that specialize in professional planning for all phases of Celebration of Life Services. Mrs. McKee holds a bachelor's degree in administrative management and enjoys assisting those during their time of bereavement.
Arts critic, former chief Epilogue writer
Tampa Bay Times
Email (personal) and (work)
He first got involved with obits in 2007 when the paper (then called the St. Petersburg Times) launched its "Epilogue" feature. Before joining the Times, Meacham wrote "Selling Serenity," about self-help trends in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then earned a master's degree in journalism. He appreciates the chance obits give writers to find hidden stories that ought to be told.
For every beautiful spire atop the monument, thousands upon thousands of cement blocks bear the strain of support. While everyone watches the most visible, who mourns when a brick falls? My goal is to give voice to these, the lowliest sparrows
James T. Meyer
As a Licensed Funeral Director since 1980, Jim Meyer has spent most of his life interviewing surviving families immediately after a death has occurred to gather both legal and anecdotal information. Learning about a lifetime in only a few hours is challenging. Jim enjoys asking follow-up questions such as “So he liked to cook; what did he cook that everyone always asked for?; or “Where did she like to travel?”; or “What was her favorite author?” Families enjoy the interest, and sharing the memories, especially “Everyone loved his white lasagna!” Jim enjoys using the English language well, composing obituaries that are easy to understand, with a flow of information that makes sense to the reader and encourages a desire to learn the entire life story.
A late-blooming accidental journalist, I began working for the Staten Island Advance at age 60. I was a copy editor, news and feature writer, columnist, and obit writer and editor there. After 17 years, I was laid off in March 2016 when the paper decided to end its longstanding practice of providing free obituaries for current and former residents, among other retrenchments. I believe it's an honor to be trusted with writing about someone's life, and that the obit pages, along with page 1 and the editorial page, are the most important in any paper.
I am interested in starting an obituaries online business in Kenya. I will of course require obituary writers.
I am a licensed funeral director, embalmer and crematory operator. I practiced for 20 years fulltime, and though not actively engaged at the moment, I intend to remain licensed and back in funeral service in some capacity. My favorite part of being a funeral service professional is writing obituaries.
The Hamilton Spectator
I have been a reporter since 1981 and have worked at The Hamilton Spectator for 26 years. We run special obits in our Monday paper called ‘Passages’ and I have written many of them over the last few years. I have written 'Passages’ about everyone from peace and environmental activists to police officers, doctors, soldiers, architects, teachers and politicians.
Retired (recovering) lawyer with 21 years in prosecution. After retirement, I started as a freelance correspondent with the Flume, our mountain paper. After covering a local's memorial service, I was hooked and started reading all the funeral blogs and I bought the obit books -- the how to's and the compilations. I've only done a couple but my editor is on board and supportive. I'm excited about doing more and getting better at them.
Maureen O'Donnell became the Chicago Sun-Times' obituary writer in 2009 after 20 years as a general assignment reporter, during which she wrote about crumbling conditions in Chicago schools, Mississippi River flooding, the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the Jeffrey Dahmer slayings. Before joining the Sun-Times, she was a reporter and editor at the City News Bureau of Chicago; a criminal courts reporter for the Milwaukee Journal, the Maryland Statehouse reporter for The Washington Times, and an associate editor at Adweek magazine. A Chicago native and graduate of Loyola University's Mundelein College, her journalism awards include the Chicago Headline Club's Anne Keegan Award, SPOW awards for obituary-writing, the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association public service reporting award, the Illinois Gold Bell Award from the Mental Health Association in Illinois and a Lisagor award. She believes obituaries have some of the best writing in newspapers and online, and that they’re both send-offs and storytelling from eyewitnesses to history.
Colin J. O'Hara
Born on Feb. 8, 1990 in Pittsburgh, he spent the majority of his life in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area. Colin is an avid athlete, musician and writer. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in journalism, Colin began writing obituaries for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times), and also is a corresponding sports journalist for several sports-related news sites.
Mary Ann O'Rourke
I've been reading death notices and obits for as long as I can remember.
I am a third generation minister and Founding Pastor of Friends Christian Church, Inc., which is located in East New York, Brooklyn, New York. We worship in a 192-year-old historic church. As an inner city chaplain I attend dozens of funerals and am often asked to help the family prepare an obituary. I am also the publisher of WELCOME Magazine in NYC
Andra has appeared on national television and radio broadcasts discussing the value of play, motivated learning for children and adults on the Autism spectrum, and her writing has been featured online in newspapers across Canada. Andra continues studies in Psychology and counselling. She is fortunate to enjoy adventures with her husband and two small children on the Southern Alberta prairies and the coasts Vancouver Island.
I cull local obituaries for the Third District in LA County. I've begun to highlight singularly good ones on my blog.
Jamie Passaro is a freelance writer who runs the obituary writing service Dear Person. Her articles, interviews, and essays have been published in The New York Times, Oregon Humanities, Full Grown People, The Washington Post parenting blog, TheAtlantic.com, The Sun, and Utne Magazine, among other places. Jamie comes to the work of obituary writing with an intense love of people’s stories and the way those stories can be captured and passed on, creating and invigorating memories, and soothing grieving loved ones. In addition to writing obituaries, Jamie is available to write eulogies and other speeches and to coach you in writing your own obituary.
Senior-level communication leader with extensive internal and external marketing and communication experience. Comfortable working at all levels of leadership in both domestic and global environments.
Researcher and scholar
Miki Pfeffer earned her M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in Urban History at the University of New Orleans. She is an independent researcher and visiting scholar at Nicholls State University. Her recent book, "Southern Ladies and Suffragists: Julia Ward Howe and Women’s Rights at the 1884 New Orleans World’s Fair," won the 2015 Eudora Welty Prize for scholarship in Women’s Studies and Southern Studies from the Mississippi University for Women. Dr. Pfeffer was also named the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Master’s Program in the English Department at the University of New Orleans.
She is currently editing the letters of New Orleans writer Grace King and her friends, Sam and Livy Clemens (Mark Twain).
The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate
I've been writing obituaries for The Times-Picayune since 1980. In 2015, the University Press of Mississippi published "Getting Off at Elysian Fields," an anthology of 120 of my obituaries and accounts of four distinctive New Orleans funerals I covered. I've been a general-assignment reporter, and I have written about medicine and arts and entertainment. I was a member of The Times-Picayune's team that won two Pulitzer Prizes, a George Polk Award, a National Headliner Award and the Medill Award for Courage in Journalism for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath
Retired obituaries editor
Dubbed Doyenne of the Death Beat, I created the AJC news obits page in 1996 and have written 2,000 obituaries on extraordinary ordinary people. A recipient of SPOW's Lifetime Achievement Award, I give humorous talks on obits and have appeared on NPR, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Nightlife, San Francisco’s KQED and CBS News Sunday Morning. I have been profiled in Mental Floss and ATLANTA magazine. My work is cited in The New Yorker, professional journals and newspapers from the U.S. to Singapore. I am quoted in a journalism textbook and my work is mentioned or featured in several other books. In the social media world, my work is discussed in podcasts and blogged about online.
My mission is to help people heal, adapt and grow physically, psychologically and spiritually. My career is in transition to hospice and palliative care chaplaincy, and it is fundamentally about writing the last chapter in a person's memoir. I am adding obituaries as a service for my clients.
Obituary writer and soul midwife
Sky Riverhawk is a creative writer and soul midwife, working on her masters in thanatology and social work. She started writing obituaries with her own as part of a sociology class in high school and found it a beautiful heart opening practice for families, friends and for the dying themselves. She is honoured to guide others how to write a captivating, deeply personal obituary reflecting the personailityof the dead with warmth, humor and joy.
Spoken word poet, freelance writer and artist, Cierra Robinson currently resides in South Florida. She is also a recent graduate of Florida Atlantic University working on her first fiction novel while contributing to the Happy Herald a positive news publication.
My career was as a speech language pathologist. I am now retired and enjoying my long awaited career as a writer. I am interested in assisting others to prepare their memoirs and obituaries.
Freelance obituary writer
I started my newspaper career back in the day when rookie reporters worked on the obit desk until you had proved you knew grammar, AP style and phone etiquette. I spent most of my career at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville as a reporter and editor. I wrote my fair share of obits. Now I'm freelancing and planning to market myself as an obit writer
Gloria S. Ross
Contributing obituary and profile writer
St. Louis Beacon
Even before receiving her degree in Radio/TV/Film from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1980, Gloria began her career in journalism as a radio news announcer at WMKC in Oshkosh. She later switched mediums and spent a year as a newspaper reporter for the North Side Journal, one of the arms of the Suburban Journals in St. Louis. Her next career change was from journalism to public relations. After leaving the Journal, Gloria worked two years as a corporate communicator at Bank of America (then Centerre Bank) in St. Louis. She then joined the United Way of Greater St. Louis, where she worked for 20 years in communications, the last seven years leading the Communications Division as senior vice president. After leaving United Way in 2006, Gloria formed Okara Communications, which provides communications services to nonprofit organizations. An additional service of Okara Communications is AfterWords, an obituary-writing and production service. Since 2008, Gloria has been a contributing obituary and profile writer for the online newspaper, the St. Louis Beacon.
A freelance editor, copy editor and proofreader based in the UK, I am keen to chase my irrepressible interest in obituaries.
Freelance obituary writer
Obituaries have fascinated me since I was a child, but I am not someone whom you'd describe as "morbid." Hardly! Rather, I see an obit as another personal-interest story, an abbreviated feature on a person who is no longer around to enjoy the attention one gets from "being in the paper." While my professional work has focused on wellness and medical information management, I decided to offer obituary writing services on a freelance basis after a treasured friend honored me with the request to write her obituary. To witness, up close, the impact that a loved one's obituary has on the survivors -- especially when it is written to capture the details of a young person's life -- is humbling. I hope that I can provide that for others.
The Washington Post
Matt Schudel has been an obituary writer at The Washington Post since 2004. He is a native of Nebraska and was previously a feature writer, magazine writer, jazz critic and art critic. He has written about murder cases, wild armadillos and the space program. He is the author of a photo-biography of Muhammad Ali and the ghostwriter of the autobiography of civil rights photographer Flip Schulke. He likes writing obituaries because there is nothing more interesting than people's lives.
Freelance Obituary Writer
For the past 11 years, I have been the chief of the Report Development Division at the National Transportation Safety Board. With 34 years of federal service (near retirement), I am interested in pursuing my next career as a professional obituary writer.
Writer, editor and book designer
I’m a writer, editor, and book designer based in Chicago, where I work full time as senior managing editor at Legacy.com. My book "Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture" has been featured by Wired, the Christian Science Monitor and, for reasons I will not pretend to fully understand, the Restoration Hardware catalog. I formerly served as editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia Weekly and, before that, Weird Tales magazine.
He starts the studies about obituary writing in 2013 when he develops a research, with a scholarship from Institutional Research Support Fund of Methodist University of Piracicaba (FAP-UNIMEP), about its speech gender in Brazil and United States of America. Since then, he believes more and morte that the obituary is a kind of a "post-mortem poetic justice", that substantiates the beliefs of a society, by portraying the life of a person who has just died. Jonathan Henrique Semmler is a Portuguese Teacher, and a Researcher. He has a degree in Portuguese and, now, is specialising in Literature and Others Artistic Languages, both in Methodist University of Piracicaba (Piracicaba, Brazil)
I’m an experienced, talented, and passionate writer who specializes in penning unforgettable memorials for people (and pets) who have passed. I’m trained in journalism and have written for dozens of publications, websites and major clients for more than a decade. This experience as a freelance reporter and copywriter has led me to create a memorable style. My obituaries stand out, and leave the reader feeling that they actually knew the person who passed. Capturing what was unique and special about an individual is something I truly love to do. It’s a gift to be able to write these remembrances, and the end result is something loved ones can treasure forever. I've been told that my obituaries capture the essence of the individual in an eloquent, heartfelt, and lively way -- and I feel privileged to be able to write them.
I have been the Obituary Editor at BBC News for the past seven years. I work on obituaries for radio, television and the BBC's website. A spell as a volunteer guide at Highgate Cemetery in London sparked my interest in the social history of death in society, particularly the Victorian attitudes to death and dying. Many of my colleagues feel I have a macabre job. To me, it is the most fascinating role a journalist can have, telling the life stories of some of the world's most famous figures.
Freelance writer and editor
The Globe and Mail
I am a creative non-fiction writer, with a special interest in memoirs and obituaries–life stories, local histories, flesh & blood anecdotal details. I’m an obituary essay writer at The Globe & Mail. My memoir business, Rampant with Memory, includes helping people write their life stories, or gather their genealogical research. I’m a memoir teacher, a diarist, a poet, an editor, and a feminist. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and spend days tapping keys or staining my fingers in ink. I am a member of the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada.
Michelle E. Shaw
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Michelle E. Shaw came to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2007 and writes feature and news obituaries. During her time at the paper, she has covered business, education and government. She was previously a business reporter at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., metro reporter at The Tennessean and has covered state and federal courts and crime. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and is in the process of completing the requirements for her Masters of Divinity at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
Obituary writer, editor and educator
Writer and editor Kitty Sheehan edits manuscripts and scripts, writes obituaries and teaches editing in New York's Hudson Valley. Kitty writes essays, copy and web features for food brands, restaurants, resorts, writers, funeral homes, shops and magazines. Kitty's essay, "The Strongest Woman in the Room" was published in October 2018 on Longreads, and cited by Harvard's Neiman Storyboard and The Sunday Long Read newsletter as an example of unique and engaging storytelling. Kitty's essays appear in the anthology My Body, My Words, edited by Loren Kleinman and Amye Archer (Big Table Publishing, 2018), and the anthology Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue, edited by Amy Ferris, (Seal Press, 2015). Kitty produced and directed a reader's theater event, Man-pleasing Recipes! in November 2018, and will present it again in winter 2020. Kitty was a cast member for two writers' productions at the Charles Wood Theater in Glens Falls, NY, and a panelist at writers' events in Minnesota, Iowa and New York.
Tampa Bay Times
She was born in Ft. Hood, TX to military parents in 1977. Raised all over the country and Germany. She first started writing poetry at a young age, then was a staff writer at her graduating high school's paper. She ended up finally landing in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2001, and by chance fell into the obituary field in 2007. Her real passion is art, but writing is a strong second
Writer and teacher
I'm a middle school teacher and a writer. My website presents obituaries for educational purposes. My op-ed "Obituaries Teach Life Lessons" appeared in the Boston Herald in 2015. I work slowly but am always grateful for recommendations!
The Washington Post
Harrison Smith is a reporter on The Washington Post's obituaries desk, where he has worked since 2015. He covers people who have made a significant impact on their field, city or country — a group of the recently deceased that includes big-game hunters, single-handed sailors, fallen dictators, Olympic champions and the creator of the Hawaiian pizza. He previously worked for KidsPost and contributed to Washingtonian and Chicago magazines, among other publications. He was born in Dallas and lived in Chicago, where he co-founded the South Side Weekly newspaper before moving to the District in 2015.
Licensed funeral director
I am a Licensed Funeral Director in the province of Ontario Canada. I manage a 3rd generational funeral home alongside my father. I wish to become better at obituary writing and am interested in reading obituaries from the past and present. I also wish to seek like-minded people who are passionate about obituary writing.
I am the author of an obituary workbook, ObitKit: Live. Love. Laugh. Cry. Write it down! and give presentations and workshops -- fun, funny and upbeat -- on this topic.
Neil Steinberg is a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he has been on staff since 1987. He also has written for many other publications, from Rolling Stone to Esquire, Forbes to the New York Times Sunday Magazine. The author of eight books, his most recent was "Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery." He frequently writes obituaries of well-known individuals for the Sun-Times, and has bade farewell to Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Jane Byrne, Walter Payton, and many other personages. His obituary of Muhammad Ali was named the best sports story of 2016 by the Illinois Press Association.
Freelance obituary writer
The Globe and Mail
A freelance writer whose work and commentary has appeared in The Telegram, This Magazine and VANS as well as on local and national CBC Radio, Joan Sullivan also works as managing editor of Newfoundland Quarterly magazine. Her most recent book, "In The Field," won the Newfoundland and Labrador Book of the Year Award (2013, non-fiction).
Chicago Tribune and Daily Southtown
I am a freelance writer who wrote for the Chicago Tribune from 2000 to 2009. In 2004 I was chosen as one of only four freelancers to write news obituaries on a daily alternating basis. I left in 2009 for a full time position as a development officer in a private high school. Late last year I left to pursue my freelance writing and have assumed my position as a news obituary writer with the Chicago Tribune and with the Daily Southtown, a local paper owned by the Chicago Tribune.
My professional training is in social work. I have read many obituaries that failed to provide a sense of wholeness of the deceased. I believe the obituary provides an opportunty to frame a memory for those who yet live, and provides insight for those who are not yet born. A minor accomplishment for one is a milestone achievement for another. The way the story is told makes a difference. Being able to help families create the final tribute to a loved one's life is a special gift and a unique privilege.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Phone - (414) 224-2196
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, and began my newspaper career here while in college, as a messenger (copy kid) at the old Milwaukee Sentinel. After working several years part-time, I was hired full-time in 1984, covering suburban government and police news. I worked police rewrite until 1992, when I became assistant editor of the Sentinel's entertainment section. After the Sentinel and Milwaukee Journal merged in 1995, I remained an entertainment writer and subbed as an editor in the features and entertainment department. I won a National Headliner Award in 2009 for a three-part series called "Ambassador Mahal: Face of a Dying Species," on the struggle of orangutans in the wild and baby oranguntan named Mahal who was flown to the Milwaukee County Zoo on a private plane to live with a surrogate mother here. I became the Journal Sentinel obituary writer in September 2012.
Embalmer and funeral director
Graduate of WV University. Licensed embalmer and funeral director. Commercial pilot with airplane single/multi-engine land, instrument, helicopter and certified flight instructor ratings.
Obituary writer and editor
The Huffington Post
Jade Walker is a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience covering international/national affairs, crime, the publishing industry, new media and obituaries. Walker is the overnight editor of The Huffington Post, and the former overnight editor of The New York Times, The Associated Press, Yahoo! News and Night Owl News. In her “spare time,” she writes obits for The Blog of Death, produces The Written Word quote service and The 10th Muse and blogs for the Obituary Forum and Afterthoughts.
My collection of short fiction, "Twenty Troubled Ladies," was picked up by a small publisher and is available on Amazon. I am currently in a masters of social work program with the hope of changing the "death industry."
Writer and editor
The Obit Patrol
I am an award-winning independent writer and editor who has written for newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide. Since July 2010, I've curated The Obit Patrol, a compendium of interesting, overlooked, and significant obituaries from around the world, as they happen, emphasizing the positive achievements of those who have died. The Obit Patrol was featured in the 2016 documentary film "Obit." I love digging up (as it were) obscure, but compelling life stories, and the Obit Patrol social media site also runs stories relating to death, mourning, burial and the obituarist's life.
Former obituary writer
I used to write "Milestones" for Time Magazine in the 1970s. I loved every minute of it -- selecting who to write about, researching their lives, boiling it all down to just a few lines and then editing the column to 71 lines late on a Friday night. I still turn to the obituary columns in every newspaper as soon as I've scanned the front page headlines. Often, they make the most interesting stories of the day
Aspiring obit writer
Aspiring obituary writer interested in creative nonfiction, and writing a memoir. I've written one obit (and obituary poem), and a half dozen non-traditional funeral poems including Sue is Chocolate and Bologna Perfume. My favorite film is Departures, and as I gobbled up The Dead Beat I did a pretty good job of keeping the lovely bits from dribbling out of my mouth. A long time ago I worked 8 years as a department head in magazine and book publishing on the design and manufacturing side.
Beverly K. Wilson
Freelance obituary writer, grief therapist and educator
I have been privileged to live my career assisting souls who are entering our world (as a labor & delivery nurse) and souls who are exiting (as a grief therapist). . . the most sacred and real aspects of our existence. Teaching grad level courses on death & dying, I offer extra credit to students who prepare their own obituaries. Some cannot do it . . for others, the exercise is life-changing.
I am a journalism student at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Recently, I started writing life tributes for the San Antonio Express News. The people I interview have touched my heart. I want excel at telling their stories.
John Yarbrough is a writer, playwright and journalist in New York City. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and elsewhere. As a writer at ABCNews.com, he wrote obituaries of Joe DiMaggio, Tom Landry, John F. Kennedy Jr, Stanley Marcus (co-founder of Neiman-Marcus), and others. In his first job, as a reporter for the Salisbury (Maryland) Daily-Times, he wrote obituaries of residents of Wicomico and Somerset counties. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild of America East, and is a professional member of PEN America. His very first obituary piece, written as a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University, was of the actress Jane Fonda. Thankfully for Ms. Fonda, it has never been used.
I have written a news obituary most work days since fall, 1989, at The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, where I've been a reporter since 1984.