What is an obituary?

Contrary to popular believe, an obituary isn’t a necessity when someone dies as there is no legal requirement to announce a death. Generally obituaries are used to tell the wider local community about a loved one’s death and celebrate his/her life.

Why publish an obituary?

If you’re arranging a funeral or memorial service, publishing an obituary makes it easier to reach a larger audience and inform local friends and associates of the details of your loved one’s life. More importantly it informs readers when and where services will be held, whether flowers or other gifts are appreciated, if donations to a local charity are preferred, and any other details you want to share.

Obituaries also serve as a form of public record and can contribute to preserving a family’s history for genealogical purposes.

Death Notices vs Obituaries

Traditionally, newspapers provided the service of death notices–a short paid announcement of death. Obituaries were professionally written biographies reserved for local and national celebrities. Over the years, the general public migrated to publishing longer death notices, which over time became referred to as obituaries.

As the saying goes, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” With newspapers today struggling to stay afloat financially, they have turned to incrementally increasing obituary costs to offset loses in advertising income.

Other options for publishing an obituary

Many online resources have surfaced allowing families to create their own obituaries and memorial pages. Unfortunately what these sites lack is reach. None of these sites replicate the service the newspaper provides…which is promoting deaths to the local community they serve.

Berks County Obituaries is a new resource where families can publish their obituaries through their funeral home and have them promoted across the local region much in the same way the newspaper does…just not in print form. The online obituary systems most funeral homes use provide added benefits such as online condolences, unlimited length obituaries, the ability to add multiple photos and even video, directly link to charities for donations, online flower ordering, and much more.

Your funeral home may also be able to create a printed version of the obituary for you to save as a keepsake. Memorial folders, prayer cards, bookmarks and other items can be created and include your obituary.

So depending on your family’s needs, an obituary can be a valuable tool in celebrating your loved one’s life and ensuring your local community has an opportunity to be notified of your loved ones passing.