Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rex A. Martin
An obituary (the root of the word is obit , Latin for “death”) is a news report of someone's death, often with a biographical sketch of the deceased. Obituaries typically appear within days or a week after the subject has died. Usually appearing in a newspaper, an obituary not only announces the fact of the individual's passing but also offers an account of the texture and significance of his or her life. An obituary differs from a death (or funeral) notice, which is a paid announcement of the death and funeral details written by family members and placed in a newspaper either by the family or the funeral home. If one includes memorial walls and stones left to honor kings and heroes, the obituary dates back to ancient Egypt. In North America, the first obituaries that would be recognized as such by modern readers appeared in Boston newspapers as early ...