Death Notice vs. Obituary: What's the Difference?

You may have heard the terms “death notice” and “obituary” used simultaneously in funeral settings. However, they do differ in their own ways. While both can be written by family members, journalists or funeral directors can also help. 

Death Notice: a public service announcement 

The death of a loved one is usually unprecedented. It can take a turn when it comes to the stress that grief brings on top of dealing with communicating the death across hundreds of members from entire families, friends, neighbors and coworkers. The purpose of a death notice is to give just that: a notice or public service announcement about the deceased. Details on what the decedent’s information is included on the notice are rather general but the private addresses can be omitted. By giving notice to the community, there is more involvement in both attending funeral and memorial services as well as an opportunity for help on fundraising efforts. It does not necessarily mean you have to post in the local newspaper, but can also choose to announce it to a religious organization that you attend. Note that every newspaper has different prices for postings so working with a newspaper agent that meets your budget is recommended. 

Obituary: a form of tribute

An obituary is more personal and is a form of a tribute to the deceased. Unlike a death notice that has general information like the name and date of death, obituaries have a personal touch and are usually referred to as a small biography. It is more lengthy and describes the deceased's accomplishments, leisure time activities, favorite quotes and a list of the names of the families left behind, along with many other topics. While some families might struggle to come up with a written obituary on the spot, funeral directors can better guide you and sometimes even help write the obituary for you. In Mobile, obituaries can be easily written with pre-need planning by the individual themselves. At the end of obituaries, service times are posted with the date, time and location for public reference. 

Postings and Costs 

As mentioned, while it is traditional to post both the death notice and obituary in a local newspaper, it is now popular to post obituaries virtually. Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery obituaries are conveniently edited and uploaded online for all to view. Death notices can be posted on newspapers, church organizations or volunteer programs. The cost of each will also differ. Obituaries tend to be more expensive since a picture is included and is usually charged by each word. Nonetheless, both postings are better off in a secure system compared to word of mouth. 

Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery is a non-profit cemetery located at 6100 Three Notch Road in Mobile, Alabama. We are here to help publish obituaries that will last a lifetime with the help of our Pre-need Planning Program. Visit us online at to find current obituaries. If you have suffered a loss and would like to speak to us, please call us at 251-661-1333. 

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