How to Write a Eulogy or Funeral Speech (Steps and Examples)
A funeral speech or eulogy is a speech that is mainly read at a funeral program or requiem for someone who has just died to honor them and celebrate their life.
Since no memorial service can ever be complete without a eulogy/funeral speech, in this post we shall show you in detail how to go about writing an appropriate and very meaningful one despite the fact that you are in grief. And as if that is not enough, we have also loaded this page with several samples of eulogies/funeral speeches that you can use at any memorial service to honor the memory of the deceased.
- 1 Writing a Eulogy/Funeral Speech: The Steps
- 2 Sample Eulogies
Writing a Eulogy/Funeral Speech: The Steps
Below are the simple steps involved in writing a eulogy/funeral speech to honor and celebrate the deceased’s life:
Begin by gathering information about the deceased. And how do you achieve this? You do this by talking to the people who were very close to the deceased. This will include people ranging from close family members to friends. In doing this, you’d be able to find such important things as the deceased’s hobbies, passions, aspirations, favorite songs, among others that you can use in crafting a perfect tribute.
Write one or multiple drafts
Once you have accumulated enough information, you are now ready to begin the writing process. However, you should not expect to write your eulogy in just one attempt. This is where sketching an initial draft of the speech comes to play. In this rough work, you should dump all the important things you want to write as a tribute to the deceased. Keep writing and stop when you feel you’ve written down all the relevant things you want to talk about such as the deceased’s biographical information, achievements, family, personality traits, hobbies, etc. The end result would normally be a piece of writing that is tremendously voluminous and to a certain degree not focused. But don’t worry. Drafts tend to be like that before they are edited. By the time you are done with the editing process (elimination and addition of certain things), you’d end up with a more focused and meaningful piece of writing that is inclusive of every relevant information needed. All in all, drafting will help you, among other things, organize your thoughts and ideas much better and create a eulogy that is of a higher quality, well-organized, concise and profound.
Parts of the Eulogy/Funeral Speeches
Your eulogy should have three main parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
- The Introduction: This is where you welcome everyone present at the memorial service and introduce both yourself and the deceased.
- The body: This consists of all the important things you need to say about the deceased. It is essentially the main component of your speech.
- Conclusion: As the name implies, this is where you bring your entire tribute to an end and bid your final farewell to the deceased. If the deceased was religious, you can conclude by committing his/her soul into the hands of God and expressing the hope that you meet him/her again soon.
Try not to speak ill of the Dead
Since you don’t want to offend or shock the audience – especially the loved ones of the deceased, you should never regard the deceased in a bad light. Don’t speak ill of the dead. Simply put, don’t talk about the negative deeds of the dead person. Even if he/she was a criminal during his/her lifetime, try to harp more on his/her positive sides. Allude just briefly to his/her bad deeds. In doing that, you can use a statement like the following: ‘John had his shortcomings. However, he never gave up trying to overcome them.’ Such a statement is more appropriate than hammering on the deceased’s actual bad or evil activities. Having said that, you should also not try writing a eulogy that makes someone who was a criminal appear as though he/she was an angel while alive. That can be just as awkward as talking about their negative deeds.
Use Quotes lavishly in your Speech
In writing your eulogy, feel free to quote as much as you want from as many reliable sources as possible. For example, you can include inspirational and comforting quotations from religious holy books such as the Bible, Quran, etc. The use of quotes in a speech is very important because it strengthens the speech.
Be mindful of the Tone used
Watch out for the tone that you use for your eulogy! According to expert eulogists, while there is no such thing as a perfect tone for a funeral speech, whatever tone that you use should be one that can adequately showcases both the quirks and qualities of the person who has just died. So for example, if you are describing a deceased who was very friendly and outgoing, a lighthearted eulogy is more preferable. On the other hand, if the deceased had a very serious-minded individual, then making your eulogy have a more serious theme will be better. All in all, the tone that you go in for will largely depend on the personality of the deceased. In addition to the deceased’s personality, another important thing that determines how serious or lighthearted the tone you use in your speech is the deceased’s age and how he/she died. For example, a eulogy about a teenager who died tragically should definitely have a more serious tone than that of a very old man who died peacefully in his sleep.
Keep it brief
Since time immemorial, people have always preferred brief and powerful eulogies to lengthy ones. And today isn’t any different! When penning a eulogy, always endeavor to put quality before quantity bearing in mind that the average eulogy is roughly between 3-5 minutes in length.
Can I use Humor in a Eulogy/Funeral Speech?
A little humor is good. However, too much of it is not a good idea. The average person finds a funeral a very solemn and sorrowful place. Owing to this, using too much humor in your speech is not only inappropriate but might just end up upsetting certain members of the congregation – especially those who were very close to the deceased. Imagine the controversy you’d cause at the funeral service of someone who died prematurely if your eulogy contained too much humor! Remember that a funeral isn’t a comedy show! A good eulogy makes use of very gentle humor that tries capturing who the deceased was in a way that eases the grief, anxiety and tension of the audience and puts smiles on their faces for a moment. For example, you can use some of the deceased’s funny quirks, hobbies and traits as a source of humor to incorporate into the eulogy. Was he a no-nonsense professor who secretly loved Taylor Swift’s songs and knew how to sing them word for word? In addition to funny quirks, you can also use some funny incidents in the deceased’s life as another great source of humor. For example, you can share with the audience one of his funny cooking mistakes. Did he once accidentally mistake sugar for salt and bake a cake using a cup of salt instead of sugar.
Get some Feedback
When you are done writing your eulogy and have gone through it multiple times and are certain that the speech properly captures the essence of the person who has died, the next important thing that we recommend you do is show it to someone whom you are not only close to but also trust. You want them to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and give you their opinion. If the person finds nothing wrong with it, then move on to the next step. However, if he/she spots certain issues with your work (such as a factual error or the use of too much humor), make the necessary changes and give it back to him/her to go through again.
After you have received positive feedback, rehearse your speech by reading it out aloud to yourself and others multiple times. The more you practice reading the eulogy, the better your delivery is going to be on the big day. And for your information, it is always better reading your speech in a conversational tone to the members of the audience since it helps you connect more with them.
Below is a huge collection of sample eulogies and funeral speeches that can help you put together a powerful and meaningful eulogy at the memorial service of a loved one:
Eulogy For a Parent
- Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the memorial service of a truly outstanding woman whose mortal remains lie before us today: Mary Simpson, who happened to my beloved mother and best friend.
- Mom, as we affectionately called her, was a woman of immense humor, bravery, and charm. She once talked my kid brother into going to the college of her choice by alleging that the other college buried all of its deceased principals under its world-class stadium. And being the naive kid that he was, my kid brother believed her apocryphal tale. It was also my mom who held my hands and marched with me to the office of my high school principal who whipped me for no particular reason other than that he was generally upset. Of course, upon seeing that my mom wouldn’t back down any time soon, he apologized and promised never to do that again. Her charm was most felt in the house after there had been a brawl between my siblings and me. Using gentle touches and hugs, she would get all of us to fall in line rather easily.
- Dearest Mom, as we gather here to celebrate your outstanding life, know that since you left us happiness continues to elude us. You were a hero. You were a remarkably great woman whose type this world will never see. We miss you so much!
- Mom, it was the famed American author, Helen Keller who said, “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.” To the world, you might no longer be physically here with us, but you reside in our hearts…today and forever.
- For as long as I live, I will never forget the love you showered me with. Neither will I ever be able to express how much your love and presence meant to us. Every moment I spent in this world being your son was a priceless treasure.
- Mom, as we mourn your passing and bless your memory, do know that our lives will never be the same without you, for you were an absolutely phenomenal woman whose beauty, kindness, brains and grace were unparalleled.
- My sweet Mother, as you rest eternally in God’s company in heaven looking down on us, do know that you were one of the greatest gifts our family has ever been blessed with. Words can’t express how proud and lucky I feel to be your son. I will love you and miss you for as long as I live until that special day when God brings us together again.
Eulogy For a Friend
- Dear brothers, sisters, family, friends and sympathizers who have gathered here with us today, I warmly welcome and greet you. And on behalf of the entire family of my very good friend, Andrew Peterson, I want to thank all of you for coming. Whenever I examine the life of my friend, I’m tempted to conclude that some friends are better than family. You might disagree with me but this young man, whose mortal remains lie before us, invested heavily into human relationships. He would offer to mow the lawns when my wife was too weak from pregnancy to do it, and I was out of town on a business trip. He would tell the kids riveting night tales that gave them a lot to mull over in their dreams.
- Today, I stand before you with dull eyes and an incredibly sad heart as I reminisce the wonderful life of Andrew Peterson, my friend and longtime partner. He was what many would describe as a strong force and cheerful soul who was gifted with seeing the potential of all he came across. “It’s okay, buddy. This is just another opportunity you somehow couldn’t capture. Trust me; many more will come your way.” Those were his words to me after I had come out of a job interview that didn’t go so well. He said those words with poise, confidence, and great assurance that it left me no option but to hope for a better tomorrow. My good friend was also an avid lover of kids. He would stop whatever he was doing to engage in a conversation with little humans. When asked why he loved kids so much, he would respond: “They are among those rare human beings who can be brutally honest with you. We need more of such people in this life.”
- And so in the spirit of brutal honesty, I exhort each and every one of us in this room to be true to ourselves in this life. Because in the end, our lives won’t be measured in terms of whom we pleased but how much we made of it.
- Today, I just want the entire world to know that thanks to Andrew, I’m a better man because I’ve learnt what sacrifice and commitment really mean. While I’m extremely sad that he’s no longer with us, I take solace in the fact that his name is a household name, at least among my kids. My precious friend and brother, thank you for all that you’ve done for my family and me. I promise to pay off all you’ve done for me in service to others. I pray you rest in perfect peace wherever you are. I miss you so much and can’t wait to see you again.
Eulogy For a Wife
- It was the iconic British musician and peace activist, John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans”. How true these words are! For, on a day when the whole family was making grand preparations to celebrate your transition from ill health to good health and strength, Debbie, we were enveloped in absolute pain and tears as you had plans with God.
- I am still in total shock as to why death will lay its icy hands on that one person who wouldn’t eat, drink, nor sleep until everyone in the family was okay and happy. Deborah Shelton, my beloved wife, our beloved mother, was a powerful presence in not only our home but also the community in which we lived. Often, she would gather the children in the neighborhood and tell them varying tales, which inspired selflessness, patriotism, obedience, morality, and respect in them. She did all of this out of the belief that it takes a village, not just biological parents, to raise a child. She would often say: “I owe it to those kids”, much to the disappointment of my kids and me who felt that she wasn’t giving us as much attention. Of the things she cared about, my wife held education most dear. She was of the view that education is a powerful tool that can make the child of a pauper a president, or that of a peasant farmer, a CEO. Therefore she made it her objective to encourage young people at home and at church to take their studies seriously.
- Deborah Shelton, you were indeed a great woman. Your devotion and love for your family was extraordinary. You were the rock of the family and the society as a whole. Our kids and I will always be grateful to you for all the kindness and generosity you supported our earthly journeys with.
- Debbie, it was always a great delight to be in your company because you were one of my most priceless treasures of life. I am not sure there will ever be enough words in this world with which I can use to describe how much my heart misses you. My dear, you might be no more but your memory will live on for as long as our hearts beat. To the world, you are dead, but in our hearts, you are still alive.
- Ladies and gentlemen, if death can be this unfair, that sends us a very clear message to enjoy life to the fullest, unshackle ourselves from the chains of self-pity, and live life in such a way that we would be ready when death comes knocking. God bless us all.
Eulogy For a Sibling
- Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome, and thank you for traveling the length and breadth of this country to join the family in sending off our beloved late sister, Jessica Anderson. When I look at this magnificent vista, I’m reminded of the beautiful and seemingly irrelevant things that marked her life while she was with us here on earth. I quite remember that at sunset, she would carry our late father’s recliner, fix it in the patio of this very building, and stare uninterruptedly at the setting sun. And as the sun’s rays lit her gorgeous face, her heart would leap with joy at the creator’s majestic work. Indeed, it was the ordinary things in life, sunshine, breezes, glistening-with-dew green grasses, and pets with great solicitude that made her most happy.
- My sister, Jess, was a philosophical young woman whose intellectual curiosity made her a sought-after talent during her years in academia, the corporate world, and beyond. To this day, I have fond memories of our nighttime discussions about the big questions in life — such as life itself, death, a good society, justice, poverty, and happiness, just to mention a few. Of happiness in particular, she was of the view that it isn’t something that we derive extrinsically from objects such as cars, wealth, pulchritude, etc. Instead, she believed, happiness is an intrinsic element that comes by being content in life. Indeed, all who knew her saw the demonstration of this philosophy in her moderate approach to wealth and spending, and her deliberate focus on connecting with fellow humans.
- Jess was also a big fan of music, her taste in which was very catholic. I remember that during one of our summer holidays, she bought for herself an iPod from which she consumed music of various genres. The list includes: jazz, classical, blues, salsa, pop, rock, and of course, acapella, which I did and still like. Her charming smile, incisive whit, and amazing sense of humor will be greatly missed. And I feel lucky to have known her, even if for a few years on this earth. My beloved sister, you were the world’s greatest sister, a great inspiration, a wonderful daughter to our parents and a great friend.
- Today, as we celebrate Jess’ exceptional beautiful life and bid her farewell, I exhort all of us in this room to take a moment everyday to savor the seemingly irrelevant things in life. Of course, this will be difficult to do when there is school, children’s health, bills, etc. But you will find it even more rewarding, if you do.
- Jessica Anderson, my beloved sister, you will be deeply missed. I pray that God will be with you and keep you till the day we meet again. I will love and always carry a huge piece of you in my heart until the day I am also covered with earth. Rest in absolute peace, my dear.
Eulogy For a Teacher
- Mr. James Ericson was one of those exceptional teachers who took young, impressionable minds and transformed them into super powerhouses that produce the very ideas that take society to greater heights. And I was so blessed to be one of his lucky students. Without a shadow of doubt, Mr. Ericson was an extraordinary one in every sense of the word.
- Indeed, Prof., as we affectionately called him, was never the type to disparage our sentiments simply because we were young. Instead, he subjected each of our arguments to rigorous analyses, and, in the process, helped us to become better thinkers ourselves. It’s been so many years since, but it seems like only yesterday, when he advised me to read a wide variety of books because it was a good way to grow my mind. Indeed, Prof. went on to recommend books in fields such as: political theory, law and jurisprudence, theology, science and mathematics, medicine, history, and imaginative literature, just to mention a few, which had been written by some of the greatest minds to ever walk this earth. Today, wherever Prof. is, he’d be proud to know that his advice never fell on deaf ears. Prof. was also a big fan of sports. He never missed an opportunity to join us either in basketball, swimming, tennis, or even dance. He would often say that he must exercise his body by doing sports just as he exercised his mind by reading different types of books; else his limbs would become atrophied. Many things about Prof. will be missed, cardinal of them being his love for knowledge, which he fed by reading a wide variety of books.
- Goodbye, Prof. You will forever dwell in our hearts and minds. You lived a truly remarkable life during your stay on earth.
Eulogy For an Uncle
- In the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I greet and welcome all of you to the burial and memorial service of my uncle, Charles Bolton, who was himself a devout Christian and man of God. Uncle Charles, as he was widely known among his congregants and members of the clergy, was the epitome of faith and humility combined. The one phrase he was always fond of saying was: “from dust I came and from dust will I return.” I’ve been mulling over this phrase for some years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it had extreme didactic value — more so for my uncle and many of us who are believers. I mean come on; this was a man whom God called from the depths of sin onto a life of righteousness and service to others. And in executing his calling, never was it to be heard that he pronounced himself more righteous than others.
- At his death, I know that the one thing my uncle would want each and every one of us to do is renew our faith in Christ and hold on to our walk of righteousness with God.
- Uncle Charles, despite the fact that your death has shocked me to my core, I take comfort in the fact that you have already relaxing in the warm embrace of God. Thank you for showing us what a truly selfless, kind and honest life looks like. May you and all who have departed in the Lord rest in perfect peace.
Eulogy for a Grandparent
- It is with a heavy but thankful heart that I stand before you and welcome you to this historic hall where grandma said her daily prayers and participated in many social activities with her age mates. Today, I’m overcome by an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and, because of that I’d like to share with you a story that truly captures who grandma was. It was summertime when a shocked police officer narrated to me that grandma had come to the precinct at dawn to file a complaint against the town’s sanitary inspectors. Her grievance was that the said inspector, while performing his duties, had awakened her chicks that were peacefully roosting in their coop. Extremely shocked and amused by the complaint, the commander at the precinct apologized to grandma and sent her home in his security detail. When I asked grandma why she did that, she replied: “the young chap had to have something about his career to write home about…” and we both laughed it off. As ridiculous as the story sounds, it embodies grandma — a spontaneous, fun, and non-monotonous soul to be around. She may be gone but her memory still lives on in our minds. Rest in power, grandma! I will never stop loving you with all of my heart.
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