How Do I Include My Father in My Mother's Obituary?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 12, 2016
Humpbackwhales! asked...

They were divorced and he has also passed away, years ago.

Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at

Please accept my condolences in the death of your mother. Moms are pretty special.

In the obituary, survivors are usually listed first, such as you and your siblings and a current husband, if there is one. If there are other people who pre-deceased her, such as siblings, your father would be listed among them. It might be worded like this: she is predeceased by a brother, John Smith and her children's father, Sam Jones. (Of course you can list your father first and then her brother.) Other ways to word that would be "she is predeceased by her former husband, Sam Jones" or even "she is predeceased by her ex-husband, Sam Jones." These are all more accurate than referring to him as "her first husband" since that implies that they were married at the time of his death.

As her child, it ultimately is up to you (and your siblings) to word it however you are comfortable since only you know which terminology best describes her (and your) relationship with him.

Community Answers

Ed markin answered...

As to listing divorced parents in an obituary, it is often good to do so as it 'explains' the children's names in cases where the divorced parent has either remarried or reverted back to her maiden name. Not to overly stress it, a predeceased ex-spouse can be included in a list such as "She is predeceased by her parents, Harold & Mildred Jones, two siblings, Harry Jones and Janis Jones-Maitland, and her former husband Robert Brown."

One must remember that, just a few generations ago, divorce was often considered a stigma among many and bearing a child out of wedlock even more so. Listing the ex-spouse can clarify things a bit.