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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Years ago, an old gentleman approached me about writing his obit while still alive. Thought that would make a great service. Sadly, he died before we could accomplish his wish, but the idea has always stuck. Now, I work part-time in the Obits dept. for Florida's largest newspaper, and every day speak with Funeral Directors and folks who have just lost a loved one. As a writer and historian, I find myself increasingly drawn to the genre, and see it as both an opportunity to respect the dead and chronicle a life. I hope to learn from those who have chosen obit writing as a career.
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.
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.
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.
Writer and teacher
Carol Henderson is a writer, teacher, and workshop leader whose first book, "Losing Malcolm, A Mother's Journey Through Grief," (2001) was chosen as a “must-read memoir” by USA Today. She was a columnist for the Chapel Hill News for 25 years and has published widely in magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. She coaches writers one-on-one and has edited a number of memoirs and essay collections. She leads nonfiction workshops in the U.S. and abroad, and restorative writing in medical centers, faith communities, and schools. She offers workshops for both professions and laypersons based on the principles in her book (2012) "Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers." Carol is currently under contract with Heartland Hospice, training support services staff all over the country to integrate restorative writing into the hospice environment. She also helps people write the stories of their lives, through many programs at civic and church groups, and at Duke University.
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.
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.
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.
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 Stata 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.
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.
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.
Clair is a freelance writer based in Birmingham, Ala.
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.
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.
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).
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
Claire Rabe has created health, career, business and lifestyle features for newspapers, magazines and online sources since 1997. She has authored three nonfiction books. Her free ebook, "Journaling for Caregivers," is available on lulu.com. Claire has taught writing workshops to students aged 8 to 80. She lives in Surprise, Ariz.
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 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.
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."
I am a custom writing specialist who assists clients with composing obituaries, farewell letters, and biographies. I hold an MFA in creative writing and a BA concentrated in professional/technical writing. As a legally ordained minister and a former Hospice volunteer, my capacity for gentle strength and empathic understanding helps comfort clients during difficult discussions. My intention is to focus less on the from and to dates and more on the dash in between, from which the love and the legacy emerged.
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.
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.