Preparing to write a eulogy for father
Eulogies are usually delivered as a short funeral speech of 3 to 5 minutes.
The point of a eulogy is not to fit every event of a person’s life into that brief speech. Eulogies are about carefully selecting the significant life events and the memories we want to share about a person we loved. You might find the task of writing a eulogy for your dad daunting, but you don’t have squeeze his whole life into it.
When writing a eulogy for your father, you’ll want to share his biographical information and your memories in a way that honours who he was.
Good eulogies for a father will weave biographical information with select moments of his life, peppered with stories and anecdotes that show who he was and what he meant to you.
By spending time thinking about what you want to say, collecting the biographical information, and talking to others about your dad, you’ll make the whole process a lot easier than rushing straight into writing the eulogy.
While there are no hard and fast rules, on this page, we’ll step you through the process for how to write a eulogy for a father.
If you want to get right into straight away, download a copy of our Eulogy Workbook with samples.
Step 1 – Reflect on your dad’s life
Talk to your children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other members of your extended family to gather their memories of your dad. Talk to your father’s friends and current or former colleagues. Take notes.
While a funeral is not the time to reveal family secrets and make shocking revelations, it’s important to be honest. But always focus on the positives.
Write down your own memories of you dad, those memories that stand out from your childhood and into adulthood. Think about what life lessons you learnt from your father and the times he had a positive impact on your life. What was he known for? What did people love about him? What will people miss?
Step 2 – Look for patterns
Reflect on your notes and what people have shared with you. Looks for ways to catalogue each memory. You’ll probably start to see patterns emerge.
From these patterns, choose the theme that resonates the strongest with you—that key characteristic about your dad that others saw, too.
This could be how he’d do anything for his kids, his love of driving long distances or his life-long thirst for learning and trying new things.
If nothing leaps out at you, give it some time. A theme isn’t necessary, but it can help you to structure your eulogy. It can also help you choose which memories to share and which to save for a different day.
Step 3 – Gather biographical information
Write down your dad’s biographical details, such as:
- his full name
- what other relatives called him
- his parents’ names
- his date of birth and where he was born.
Step 4 – Write down significant life events
Include details such as his:
- marriage or significant relationships
- first job
- career highlights
Next, write down his favourite things — hobbies he enjoyed, his special talents, people he loved spending time with, his favourite food, and any grand adventures he had.
Talk to family members and his friends about these events and his favourite things. Check if they have anything to add.
Step 5 – Set the tone
When you’re writing the eulogy, write as though you’re talking to friends, which you will be at the funeral. There’s no need to be formal or businesslike.
A warm, conversational tone always goes well.
How you talk about your father depends on your relationship with him and how he died.
You can use humour but do so with warmth. A mean-spirited joke that pokes fun at your dad might not be well received.
Humour can also ease the tension people feel during the funeral.
If you collected amusing stories and anecdotes while reflecting on your father’s life, find those that are a good fit for your chosen theme and you can work them into the eulogy.
Step 6 – Write your opening
State why you’re there — to celebrate the life of your dearly loved father. You might want to include something about what he will be remembered most for.
Share who you are and what your connection to your father is. There could be people at the funeral who don’t know you.
You can also thank people for coming. It’s good to recognise any who’ve travelled a distance to be at the service. If you have chosen to the funeral you could also acknowledge those who are joining within you online.
Next, state your father’s biographical details. You can do this in chronological order. These are the basic details you gathered at Step 3.
Feel free to include other details you think are important and worth stating up-front.
Talk about other loved ones—those who were close to your dad. This could include his:
- wife or partner
- brothers and sisters
- cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles
- children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
- much adored pets
- close friends, past and present.
Step 7 – Share significant life events
From the life events you gathered, choose those most important that fit with your father’s life story. Next, choose a memory to share about each event and preferably one that fits with your eulogy’s overall theme.
Your memories will enrich the eulogy.
This is your eulogy and it’s OK to write it and share memories from your perspective.
Step 8 – Write the conclusion
Eulogies often end with a heartfelt message and comforting words.
You can address your final goodbye to the people at the funeral, your father directly, or to both.
Revisit your overall theme to help you find the right message to conclude the eulogy. What would your dad say? How would he comfort you?
Step 9 – Review the eulogy
If you can, leave the eulogy for at least a day so you can come back to it with fresh ideas.
Read it out loud and time yourself.
Ask close friends and family to review it for you. While you should be open to their feedback, ultimately, it’s your funeral speech for dad and you get to make the final decision.
Step 10 – Prepare to deliver the eulogy
Practice reading the eulogy out loud many times. This will help you feel more confident about delivering the eulogy at your father’s funeral.
If you’re worried about your emotions getting the better of you while you’re speaking, there are a few things you can do to prepare for it:
- plan to take a short break and a few deep breaths to help regain control over your emotions
- remind yourself not to rush
- have a glass or bottle of water nearby so you can take a sip
- plan to have someone sitting near you who you can make eye contact with and they can give you nod of encouragement while you take a pause
- print the eulogy in a large font to make it easy to read
- have someone on standby who can take over on your behalf.
Download our eulogy workbook
To help you craft a eulogy that will remember your father with the love, warmth and respect he deserves, download a copy of our Eulogy Workbook. It includes what to write in a eulogy and offers eulogy examples for a father.