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funeral resources

How to write a Newspaper Notice

Newspaper notices are still a common way of letting extended family and friends know when and where the funeral will take place. We can insert these throughout New Zealand on your behalf. You can choose to include photos and graphics with the notice in some papers. Below is a basic format for a notice, but naturally this can vary:

SMITH John William. (Regtl No or ex RNZN).

On 25 January 2019, Peacefully at North Shore Hospice, in his 82nd year.

Dearly loved husband of …

Loved and respected father and father in law of…

Much loved Grandfather of…

Loved Son and Son in Law of …

Loved Brother and Brother in Law of …

Loved Uncle of …

Personal message from family e.g. forever in our hearts

A service will be held at the North Harbour Chapel of Dil’s Funeral Services, 185 Schnapper Rock Road, Albany, on Tuesday 31 January at 12:30 pm, followed by private cremation.

In lieu of flowers donations to XYZ Charity PO Box 22222 Auckland would be appreciated.

All communications to the Smith family C/- PO Box 302 524 North Harbour 0751. (We recommend that for security reasons families use a post office box number for communications).

How to write a eulogy or tribute

At a funeral service, it is common for family and friends to speak about their experiences with, and feelings for the person who has died. How do you start to capture the essence of the one you have known?

When there is just one eulogy, it’s expected the detail would be much greater than in a situation where there are several speakers each paying tribute.

To capture the interest of the audience, you could start with a significant story about the person or you may prefer a more chronological account of their life, such as: Where was the person born? Where did they grow up? What was school like for them? How far did they go with education? What was home life like? Did they have siblings? Do you have any stories from those years? When did they start work? Why did they choose that particular line of work? What other career moves did they make? Where did they meet their spouse? What will you always remember about them as a family member or friend? Where did they live? Were there any notable holidays or special events for this person? What were their interests, hobbies or favourite activities? What was important to them? Were there any sayings or expressions that they loved, or made them the person they were? What will you remember them doing or saying? What did you learn from them? How will you describe them when you look back on the years you have shared together?

People often remember stories after the service and feel connected being able to share these.

As you start to write about your loved one’s life, jot down any words, thoughts or phrases that spring to mind. Keep this notepad somewhere handy so you can continue to add to it throughout the days leading up to the service. Place these thoughts under headings or categories so that your story can be told in an ordered manner. Remember, you are painting a picture of the person’s life. Ask family and friends what they remember most about the person or what they will miss most about them. A longer tribute is better written out in full and read. If you become overwhelmed with emotion, your paper and notes will help to keep you focused. Impromptu tributes, especially those delivered by unaccustomed speakers, often continue for too long, and may well lose the attention of those present if the tribute is not following a clear path.

If you are one of several speakers, then you need to establish how you came to know the person you are speaking about. How did you meet? Why did you get on so well? Are there any stories you can share that will show why your relationship was so special? If you knew them at work, what made them good at what they did? What memories have your colleagues shared with you about this person? If you belonged to a club or sports team together, what experiences did you share that were unique and memorable? Keep your remarks relevant and allow time for others to share their stories too. For example: I remember when… / …was special because… / there was a time…

Any of these thoughts could get you started when creating a memorable tribute. Take your time when deciding what things you will speak about, and in which order, as this will help significantly as you begin writing the tribute.

Funeral Readings and Poems

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar

When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark.

For, though from out our bourne of time and place,

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face.

When I have cros’t the bar.


I must go down to the seas again,

to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship

and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song

and the white sails shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face

and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again,

for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call

that cannot be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day

and the white cloud flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume

and the seagulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again

to the vagrant gypsy life,

to the gull’s way and the whale’s way

where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn

from a laughing fellow rover,

And a quiet sleep and sweet dream

when the long trick’s over.

John Masefield

The weather’s fine, the tides are right,

and all the time I’m wishin’

that nothing else will matter, just

as long as I’m out fishin’.

A leaky boat or rocky coast –

if it’s my favourite spot –

the busy world can pass me by

when fish are runnin’ hot.

And if the catch is large or small

it doesn’t really matter

as long as I can eat the lot –

smoked, fresh, or cased in batter. …

The Great Beyond has endless seas

with no forbidden sectors,

or stormy days, or rotten luck,

– or fisheries inspectors.

The little ones that got away

(to bend my rod were tryin’)

I’ll say were huge – but I confess

that God will know I’m lyin’.

So look for me from time to time,

and if you find me missin’,

be happy that for evermore

I’ve only gone out fishin’.

Norm Murray

The measure of a man is not determined

by his show of outward strength,

or the volume of his voice,

or the thunder of his action.

It is to be seen, rather,

in terms of the strength of his commitments,

The genuineness of his friendships,

the sincerity of his purpose,

The quiet courage of his convictions,

his capacity to suffer,

and his willingness to continue ‘growing up’.

Grady Poulard

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there – I do not sleep

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight

I am the soft star that shines at night.

I am in the flowers that bloom

I am in the quiet room

I am in the birds that sing

I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave and cry

I am not there – I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

You can shed tears that she has gone or…

You can smile because she lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back or…

You can open your eyes and see all that she has left

You can remember her and only that she is gone or…

You can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back or…

You can do what she would want…

Smile, open your eyes, love, and go on

David Harkins

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little – but not too long

And not with your head bowed low

Remember the love that we once shared

Miss me – but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take

And each must go alone

It’s all part of the Master’s plan

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart

Go to the friends we know

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds

Miss me – but let me go.

Edgar Albert Guest

I’d like the memory of me

to be a happy one.

I’d like to leave an afterglow

of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to leave an echo

whispering softly down the ways,

of happy times, and laughing times,

and bright and sunny days.

I’d like the tears of those who grieve

to dry before the sun

of happy memories that I leave

when my life is done.

Helen Lowrie Marshall

That person is a success

who has lived well,

laughed often and loved much;

who has gained the respect

of intelligent people

and the love of children;

who has filled their niche

and accomplished their task;

who leaves the world better

than they found it;

who has never lacked appreciation

of earth’s beauty

or failed to express it;

who looked for the best in others

and gave the best they had.

Bessie Anderson Stanley

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect, without the ghost of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was,

there is absolutely unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,

just around the corner … All is well.

Henry Scott Holland

Tradesmen, be beggared! They make too much hay

by charging for things I could do in a day.

There’s no greater pleasure or stuff you can buy,

than spending the effort on straight DIY.

It might be a building – or just a small shelf –

the best ones are made when you Do It Yourself;

and even on TV, you hear what they say:

that pure DIY is in our DNA.

Don’t get me a permit – there’s no need for that;

and when a kind neighbour drops in for a chat,

they’ll give you a hand, or a bit of advice,

or sit on the sideline, and say ‘That looks nice’.

I’ll give most things a go, though at times it is tough,

with plumbing and wiring and roofing and stuff;

but that’s just the point: it’s the do-er in me

that loves a big challenge. It’s fun, and it’s free!

‘As good as a bought one’ is how it turns out.

The pros can go packing when I am about.

There’s huge satisfaction in things DIYed.

– I’d do my own funeral if I hadn’t died.

Norm Murray

I held your hand when first we fell in love

-a simple gesture, learned in childhood,

of warmth and comfort – worn now like a glove,

and wordless, but forever understood.

Our vows were made with hands that touched, and bound

our deepest feelings – heartfelt – with bright rings.

Still holding hands, we danced together round

the circle of our lives, like queens and kings.

And soft or workstained, palms and fingers stayed

entwined as we in harmony drew breath

until the last. We need not be afraid:

my love for you is not unbound by death.

We shared our lives; and each one understands

that for all time we’ll still be holding hands.

Norm Murray

Sir Francis Drake knew what to do

when the Armada loomed:

he finished off his game of bowls;

– England was never doomed.

By his example we all know

(without a trace of bias)

the Roll Up’s the important thing,

whatever else may try us.

In pairs or fours, and triples too

our days are measured out –

to drive, or draw to either hand

is what life’s all about.

On green and rink, in dazzling white

to our best game we’re true;

so when your bowls are in our way

we “weight “ to follow through.

In sun or breeze we’re on the mat

– enjoyment is our aim –

and if the weather’s not too hot

we’ll never skip a game.

So while in life we’re all obliged

to play so many roles,

I’d like to spend eternity

with others – playing bowls.

Norm Murray

My garden’s really gone to seed

– too much of canker, bug and weed;

for where best flowers brightly bloomed

and vegies grew to be consumed

is now a sad and sorry sight –

a home for insects, slugs and blight.

It needs a dose of TLC,

like kindly folk have given me.

I’ve had tremendous pleasure there;

and other gardeners loved to share

their horticultural triumphs fine,

and I with them, those that were mine.

But now no more of rake and spade,

or raising seedlings in the shade.

The bugs and weeds have had their day

and even snails shall pass away.

It’s those who follow on my road

will harvest things that I have sowed.

To push up daisies is my lot:

– just plant me in a garden plot.

Norm Murray

The smiles you never gave

we must give

The breath you never drew

we must draw

The laughter in your life

we must find in ours

The love you have already given

dear Little One

is ours to share

Norm Murray

If Time should come and steal my memories,

If you look in my eyes and cannot see,

If something takes away my yesterdays,

Play these my songs and know you’re hearing me.

And if by chance I hear the melodies

The faithful sun may now and then break through

And I will feel the warmth that used to be

And in remembered song, remember you.

Phil Ellsworth

The poem was published in Pooled Ink 2013, Northern Colorado Writers, LLC

God saw you getting tired

And a cure was not meant to be,

So he put his arms around you

And whispered “Come to Me”.

With tearful eyes we watched you,

As we saw you pass away.

Although we loved you deeply,

We could not make you stay.

Your golden heart stopped beating,

Hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,

He only takes the best.

Frances and Kathleen Coelho

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to reap;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us;

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures:

he leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul:

he guides me in the paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou dost prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies:

thou hast anointed my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me

all the days of my life: and I will dwell

in the house of the Lord for ever.

Concluding words and words of committal

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,

We will remember ……

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,

We will remember him / her.

As long as we live, ….. will live,

For he / she is now a part of us,

As we remember him / her.

Adapted from Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

May the rain fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again

May God hold you in the palm of his hand

Deep peace of the running wave to you.

Deep peace of the flowing air to you.

Deep peace of the shining star to you.

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

Deep peace of the gentle night to you.

Moon and stars pour their healing light on you

Deep peace of the light of the world to you.

Now and always.


Peace now. Your long-fought battle done,

your chair-bound world and close horizons gone.

Your spirit – still invincible – lives on,

triumphant over suffering and pain.

Your patient life, endured and enjoyed,

has blessed us all; and now with grateful hearts

we mourn your death, but celebrate your life,

and know our days will honour all you are.

Norm Murray

Peace now. Your mighty battle done,

your clouded world and close horizons gone.

Your spirit – still invincible – lives on,

triumphant over suffering and pain.

Your time with us, with joys and sorrows shared,

has blessed us all; and now with grateful hearts

We mourn your death, but celebrate your life,

and know our days will honour all you are.

Norm Murray

Words of Committal

(N), your walk on this earth has ended.

As we say goodbye

we remember again the colourful richness of your life

Thank you for the happiness and warmth

you have brought into our lives

[as a parent/friend/companion].

Thank you for your skills as a worker,

your love of social occasions

your smile, your laughter, your friendliness

– all the things that have made you the person

we have loved [and cherished].

Now, with love and tenderness

[with sadness, but with gratitude]we return your body

to the care of the earth/to the elements

from which it came,

knowing that you will live on in our hearts and memories

and that our lives will be forever blessed

because you loved us, and we loved you.

May you be now and always at peace.

(N), You have loved us; we have loved you.

That love has changed our lives,

it has enriched others;

and it will remain in countless ways

as your influence and example

continue down the generations.

Now, as we say goodbye,

we give thanks for everything we have shared with you

and for the wonderful memories we have

of our time together.

Go with our love. Go in peace