What should be included in a eulogy

17 January 2022

What should be included in a eulogy will depend on the type of funeral service you are looking to create. One of the first decisions is whether the service will be a religious, humanitarian or a celebration of life. 

It may be easier to take a fictitious example of someone who died. We will use the Example of Sam; here is a link to Sam’s Bio, to give you some idea of who Sam was.

It is crucial to think about your audience and how the deceased lived their life. For Example, Great Aunt Lucy, in her 80’s may not like to hear about the copious number of girlfriends Sam had but may like to hear about the one girl he loved and wanted to marry. At the same time, you should be faithful to the life Sam had and not exaggerate or embellish his life story. It may be easier to say something like:

“Sam spent a lot of time looking for the right person to share his life with.”

As Sam was a fun-loving person and was always joking around, then the eulogy can be fun, giving the audience a laugh and helping them remember why they had Sam in their lives, how they enjoyed their time with Sam and larking about. 

“Sam loved life and enjoyed nothing better than telling jokes, playing tricks on his friends, and they will miss this aspect of their lives with Sam..”

However, if Sam was a serious person, and felt the wows of the world on his shoulders, then a light-hearted joking eulogy would not be appropriate. A more subtle tribute would be more appropriate,

“Sam was a serious man who looked at the world as a challenge and one he was eager to embrace.”

Sections of a Eulogy

What should be included in a eulogy could be a section on how, in our Example Sam, loved his family and how important he was to them and vice versa if he had a family. If not, how important friends were to his life.

A eulogy doesn’t have to be a chronological account of someone’s life; you don’t have to start off with:

Sam was born in Poole on the 27 August 1978 to Sara and Ian and lived most of his young life in the Poole area, attending school at Broadstone before moving to Creekmore. Sam liked school and was very good at it. The academic achievement came easily to him. He was an excellent athlete, representing the school in Rugby, Hockey and Long Jump. Although he had a lot of friends and was popular, his best friend was Andy Marks, with whom he walked to school every day and remains friends now. Andy has described Sam as irreplaceable, always seeing the funny side of life.

Instead, you could section the eulogy into different aspects of his life, for example, sports.

Sam was an excellent athlete, representing the school in Rugby, Hockey and Long Jump, which helped when he joined the Army, signing up for an ‘A ten-year stint’ and then represented his regiment at Thai boxing and became a black belt in Aikido.

This is a decision the author of the eulogy generally makes early on in the process, guided by the next of kin.

What can be included in a eulogy and what can you leave out?

What should be included in a eulogy

What should be included in a eulogy and what should be excluded can be very stressful and challenging. In our example, Sam died in a car accident; you may want to make a note of that in your eulogy,

“Sam died so early in his life; he was only 34 when he was hit by a car as he drove his motorbike home.”

Alternatively, you could say:

“Sam was taken from us too early; he was only 34 when the accident happened.”


“Sam was sadly taken from us too early, and he will be missed every day”.

The decision is entirely up to you as the author and the family. 

The decision is entirely up to you as the author and the family. 

You want to ensure the eulogy you write is entertaining, and more importantly, you ‘do the deceased proud’, ensuring that their life has meaning and that the mourners are comforted during the service. If children are present, you could involve them in the service, but this has to be with the consent of the remaining caregiver, mother, grandparents etc.,

For Example, Sam had a 7-year-old daughter who wrote her dad a letter and drew him a picture. During the service (at the Committal stage), she came up to the coffin, placed the picture on the coffin, told him what it was, and left the letter for him. 

In conclusion, what should be included in a eulogy is entirely down to you and the family. You need to be true to yourself, ensuring that you are happy to deliver the eulogy while at the same time ensuring the family is satisfied with the eulogy. 

What should be included in a Eulogy Questions to help

  • Date of birth and death
  • Name of husband, wife, partner
  • Name of children, grandchildren
  • Names of close friends and careers
  • Schools if necessary
  • Career success
  • Hobbies?
  • What will they best be remembered for
  • What were their character and personality?
  • War service – yes / no – details
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Special memories

The Service – Generally 20 or 30 minutes

When delivering a eulogy, remember you only have a specific time, generally 10 or 15 minutes. If you have a service at a crematorium, the services are 20 minutes or 30 minutes; in that time, you also have

  • An introduction -2 minutes
  • Eulogy – 15 minutes
  • Reflection – 5 minutes
  • Committal – 5 minutes
  • Closing – 3 minutes