Obituaries

Janet D'Esposito
B: 1955-01-31
D: 2018-06-19
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D'Esposito, Janet
Lillian Simeone
D: 2018-06-18
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Simeone, Lillian
William McKeon
D: 2018-06-16
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McKeon, William
John Holinda
D: 2018-06-15
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Holinda, John
Charles Barbara
D: 2018-06-10
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Barbara, Charles
Howard Stevens
D: 2018-06-07
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Stevens, Howard
Lucila "Lucy" Reyes
D: 2018-06-05
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Reyes, Lucila "Lucy"
Eric Coles
D: 2018-06-03
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Coles, Eric
Paul Sollitti
D: 2018-05-31
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Sollitti, Paul
Anastasia Kallias
D: 2018-05-26
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Kallias, Anastasia
Josephine Palmisano
D: 2018-05-25
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Palmisano, Josephine
Helen Steimle
D: 2018-05-15
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Steimle, Helen
Aris Mijares
D: 2018-05-14
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Mijares, Aris
Lillian Soltis
D: 2018-05-14
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Soltis, Lillian
Claude Jones
D: 2018-05-09
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Jones, Claude
Deborah Hansen
D: 2018-05-06
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Hansen, Deborah
Sarah Dempsey
D: 2018-04-27
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Dempsey, Sarah
Mildred Scarano
D: 2018-04-24
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Scarano, Mildred
Anthony Caltabilota
D: 2018-04-21
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Caltabilota, Anthony
Ernest Seggio
D: 2018-04-21
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Seggio, Ernest
Sylvia Marsico
D: 2018-04-21
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Marsico, Sylvia

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How to Write a Eulogy

The writing and reading of a eulogy is, above all, the simple and elegant search for small truths. This can be surprisingly hard, to take notice of the smallest, most unpolished details of a life and set them up for us to stare at in the wonder of recognition.
Tom Chiarella, "How to Give a Eulogy"

How do you begin writing a eulogy? Editor Carol DeChant explains, "Obituaries are usually mini-biographies, focused on what a person did, but the eulogy is much deeper, more about who the person was...It's meant for the select group of people who knew and cared for that person, or who care for the survivors."  

Christina Ianzito, in "How to Write a Eulogy," offers these suggestions; many of them come from Garry Schaeffer's book, A Labor of Love: How to Write a Eulogy:

  1. Outline the eulogy: In addition to helping you stay focused, an outline will keep your eulogy organized and effectively break down the task of writing into manageable pieces.
  2. Ask for the input of other family members and friends. They may be able to provide you with some great stories to share.
  3. Always try to share examples of the statements you make about your loved one. If you want to say, "she was generous with her time," tell a story that supports the statement.
  4. Do not focus too much on yourself. After all, this isn't a eulogy for you; keep your writing focused on your loved one. You may even want to ask others to read your first draft to make sure the focus is in the right place.
  5. Go for the humor. Shared laughter is a very healing experience so don't be afraid to make people laugh.
  6. Write the first draft. Don't fuss over every word; just get your ideas on paper.
  7. Put it aside for a while. This has, no doubt, been an emotional experience. Take some time away from the writing desk to get perspective and release stress or sorrow.
  8. Come back to edit and polish. This is the time to refine the eulogy into its final form.
  9. Print a legible copy of the eulogy, in a large font, to assist in the delivery of your well-chosen words. There's nothing worse than not being able to read your handwriting when you're standing in front of a crowd of people.

Delivering a Eulogy

Unless you're a seasoned public speaker, delivering a eulogy can be a scary, emotionally-trying time. It is recommended that you:

  • Take your time with the delivery.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Stay relaxed.
  • Take regular sips of water.

If you have any doubts about your ability to perform in front of an audience, consider appointing a back-up person to fill in for you. Or, you may ask someone else to take over the duty of reading the eulogy aloud on your behalf.

"Giving a eulogy is good for you. Period," says author, Tom Chiarella. "It may hurt to write it. And reading it? For some, that's the worst part. The world might spin a little, and everything familiar to you might fade for a few minutes. But remember, remind yourself as you stand there, you are the lucky one. And that's not because you aren't dead. You were selected. You get to stand, face the group, the family, the world, and add it up. You're being asked to do something at the very moment when nothing can be done. You get the last word in the attempt to define the outlines of a life."

Eulogy Examples

An  example  of  an  excellent  eulogy  is  the  one  Senator  Robert  (Ted)  Kennedy  delivered  for  his  nephew  John  F.  Kennedy  Jr.  John  was  an  accomplished  lawyer  and  magazine  publisher.  Understandably,  growing  up  with  the  last  name  Kennedy  is  no  easy  task.  As  a  member  of  such  a  high-profile  family,  John  spent  much  of  his  life  in  the  spotlight.  Despite  growing  up  in  the  shadows  of  his  father  and  uncles’  successes,  Kennedy  was  able  to  carve  his  own  path  build  a  legacy  of  his  own.
 
The  eulogy  itself  is  quite  lengthy.  To  read  the  full  version  of  John  F.  Kennedy  Jr’s  eulogy,  click  here.
 
We  have  collected  a  few  different  excerpts  from  the  eulogy  to  help  demonstrate  how  to  write  a  eulogy. 
 
"Once,  when  they  asked  John  what  he  would  do  if  he  went  into  politics  and  was  elected  president,  he  said,  "I  guess  the  first  thing  is  call  up  Uncle  Teddy  and  gloat."  I  loved  that.  It  was  so  like  his  father."
 
After  thanking  the  President  and  his  family  for  attending,  Ted  begins  the  eulogy  by  making  a  joke  at  his  expense.  Choosing  to  start  the  eulogy  with  humor  is  quite  effective  in  this  case.  Not  only  does  it  help  lighten  the  mood,  this  specific  joke  establishes  a  personal  connection  between  John  and  his  uncle.
 
"He  had  amazing  grace.  He  accepted  who  he  was,  but  he  cared  more  about  what  he  could  and  should  become.  He  saw  things  that  could  be  lost  in  the  glare  of  the  spotlight.  And  he  could  laugh  at  the  absurdity  of  too  much  pomp  and  circumstance. 
 
He  loved  to  travel  across  the  city  by  subway,  bicycle  and  roller  blade.  He  lived  as  if  he  were  unrecognizable,  although  he  was  known  by  everyone  he  encountered.  He  always  introduced  himself,  rather  than  take  anything  for  granted.  He  drove  his  own  car  and  flew  his  own  plane,  which  is  how  he  wanted  it.  He  was  the  king  of  his  domain."
 
In  this  second  passage  of  the  obituary,  Ted  goes  on  to  describe  John’s  values,  beliefs  and  who  he  was  as  a  person.  Throughout  this  section  of  the  eulogy,  Ted  does  an  excellent  job  making  John  relatable  to  other  people.  Despite  growing  up  in  one  of  the  country’s  most  prolific  families,  he  makes  it  clear  that  John  was  always  destined  to  form  his  own  path  and  stayed  humble  while  doing  so. 
 
John  was  also  the  son  who  was  once  protected  by  his  mother.  He  went  on  to  become  her  pride  --  and  then  her  protector  in  her  final  days.  He  was  the  Kennedy  who  loved  us  all,  but  who  especially  cherished  his  sister  Caroline,  celebrated  her  brilliance,  and  took  strength  and  joy  from  their  lifelong  mutual  admiration  society.  And  for  a  thousand  days,  he  was  a  husband  who  adored  the  wife  who  became  his  perfect  soul  mate.  John's  father  taught  us  all  to  reach  for  the  moon  and  the  stars.  John  did  that  in  all  he  did  --  and  he  found  his  shining  star  when  he  married  Carolyn  Bessette. 
 
In  this  passage  of  the  eulogy,  Ted  goes  on  to  acknowledge  other  members  of  the  Kennedy  family  and  the  connections  they  shared  with  John.  In  this  case,  other  than  John’s  sister  Caroline,  everyone  that  is  mentioned  has  passed  away.  By  doing  this,  Ted  is  not  only  talking  about  the  personal  relationships  John  formed  but  also  acknowledging  and  paying  tribute  to  deceased  family  members. 
 
It’s  important  to  make  sure  that  the  eulogy  you  deliver  is  not  exclusively  about  your  relationship  with  the  deceased.  Ted  does  an  excellent  job  of  speaking  very  little  about  himself  and  more  about  other  loved  ones  who  were  close  to  John.  Throughout  all  of  this  though,  John  remains  the  focal  point  and  the  star  of  each  anecdote  shared. 

Where to Find the Best Eulogies Online

All you need to do is search online for "best eulogies" or simply "eulogies" - you'll be directed to literally dozens of videos and articles.

Should you still find yourself in need of support, please give us a call at 732-229-8855. We will be delighted to discuss other available resources. 

Sources:
Chiarella, Tom, "How to Give a Eulogy"
Ianzito, Christina, "How to Write a Eulogy"