How to Write an Obituary for Grade 12, Grade 11, Grade 10 and Grade 9 (with examples): An obituary is one of the last things that will be read about a person who has died. As a Grade 12/11 Learner, you are expected to know how to write an obituary in a required format: of a well-known person in the community, of a friend, or of a learner who passed away. This content is for English Grade 12/11 Paper 3

How to Write an Obituary – Examples for Grade 12 & Grade 11

Writing an obituary is a meaningful task that honors the life of someone who has recently passed away. It serves to commemorate the deceased, inform others of their passing, and provide details of the funeral arrangements. This guide aims to simplify the process, breaking down the essential elements and language features with examples suitable for Grade 11 and Grade 12 students.

Key Elements of an Obituary

Identification of the Deceased

  • Start with the surname in bold, followed by the name the deceased was known by. If applicable, include the maiden name in brackets and a nickname.
    • Example: SMITH, John (neé Doe) “Johnny”

Dates and Places

  • Mention the date of death, place of residence at time of death, date of birth, and birthplace.
    • Example: Passed away on March 24, 2024, in Johannesburg, born February 12, 1940, in Cape Town.

Biographical Information

  • Provide details like schooling, hobbies, work information, and what made the deceased special.
    • Example: John attended Cape Town High School, loved gardening and photography, and was known for his dedication to teaching mathematics for over 30 years.


  • List key survivors such as spouse and children or, if the deceased was young, parents and siblings.
    • Example: Beloved husband to Mary, cherished father to Anne and Peter, and loving brother to Susan.

Funeral Arrangements

  • Include the time, date, and place of the funeral.
    • Example: The funeral service will be held at 10 am on April 2, 2024, at Grace Chapel, Cape Town.

Optional Elements of an Obituary

  • Cause of Death: If appropriate, the cause of death may be mentioned.
  • Memorial Tribute: Information on a memorial service or tribute.
  • Donations: Directions for mourners who wish to send donations in lieu of flowers.
  • Example: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart Foundation.

Language Features

  • Formality: The tone should be formal yet respectful.
  • Euphemisms: Use softer language for death, e.g., “passed away”.
  • Conciseness: Keep it concise but informative.
  • Personal Note: Optionally, add a sentimental note or loving poem at the end.

Example Obituary

SMITH, John (neé Doe) “Johnny”

John Smith, aged 84, passed away peacefully on March 24, 2024, in Johannesburg, surrounded by his family. Born on February 12, 1940, in Cape Town, John dedicated his life to education, touching the lives of countless students as a beloved mathematics teacher.

John is survived by his loving wife, Mary; children, Anne and Peter; and sister, Susan. He will be remembered for his passion for gardening, his photographic journey through South Africa, and his unwavering kindness.

A service to celebrate John’s life will be held at Grace Chapel, Cape Town, at 10 am on April 2, 2024. The family kindly requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Heart Foundation to honor John’s memory.

Writing an obituary is a profound way to remember a loved one and share their story with others. By following the structured format and incorporating personal touches, you can create a heartfelt tribute that truly reflects the life and legacy of the deceased. Remember to keep the language respectful and the tone appropriate, ensuring the obituary serves as a fitting farewell.


What is the Purpose of an Obituary?

The obituary, like the funeral service, notifies the public of your loved one’s passing. The purpose of an obituary is to notify the public of an individual’s passing and relay the details of the services. It can also detail the life of the deceased.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write an Obituary

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write an Obituary as a school learner:

  1. Gather important information: Before you begin writing the obituary, gather important information about the deceased such as their full name, age, occupation, family members, and any relevant details about their life, such as their education or notable accomplishments.
  2. Decide on the tone: The tone of an obituary can vary depending on the person and the circumstances of their death. It can be a celebration of their life, a tribute, or a simple notification of their passing.
  3. Write the headline: The headline should be brief and informative, including the person’s name and the date of their death.
  4. Write the opening sentence: The opening sentence should include the person’s full name, their age, and the date and location of their death.
  5. Include a brief summary of their life: This should be a brief overview of the person’s life, including where they were born, their education, career, and any notable accomplishments or contributions they made during their lifetime.
  6. Mention their family members: Include the names of the person’s surviving family members, such as their spouse, children, parents, and siblings.
  7. Include funeral arrangements: Provide information about the funeral or memorial service, including the date, time, and location.
  8. Include a closing statement: This could be a quote, a message from the family, or a final tribute to the deceased.
  9. Proofread and edit: Before submitting the obituary, make sure to proofread and edit it for accuracy and to ensure that it is free of errors.

Note: Every newspaper or online obituary service has their own word limit and format preference. Please check with them before submitting.

Obituary Example of a ClassMate (Template)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of [Name], a beloved member of the Grade 11 class at [School Name] in [City, Province]. [Name] passed away on [Date] after a courageous battle with [specific illness].

[Name] was an intelligent, kind-hearted and hardworking student who was loved by all who knew her. She had a passion for [specific interests/hobbies], which she pursued with dedication and enthusiasm. Her infectious smile and positive attitude will be greatly missed by her classmates and teachers.

[Name] was a dedicated member of the [school club/team], where she made many cherished friends. She will also be remembered for her volunteer work at [charity/community organization], where she made a positive impact on the lives of many.

[Name] will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

A memorial service for [Name] will be held at [location and time]. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in [Name]’s memory to [charity/organization].

Rest in peace, [Name]. You will always be in our hearts.


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