- What is an obituary?
- Whose obituaries will you publish?
- What do you mean by “abbreviated obituaries” of parents, siblings, etc.?
- Will you publish spouses of survivors?
- Will you publish a picture of the person who died?
- Do all obituaries that appear in the newspaper also appear online?
- May we write our own obituary?
- Do you have any tips for writing an obituary?
- How much does an obituary cost?
- Do you have paid notices?
- How do I submit an obituary to the Times?
- What is the submission deadline?
- Can we see the obituary you write before you publish it?
In The Darien Times, an obituary is either a news obituary or a paid obituary. In a news obituary, the text is written — or at least, edited — by the staff, based on information supplied by the family, funeral home, our files, interviews, and other sources. While we will use the information supplied by the family, we usually rewrite submitted obituaries, at least to some degree. With a paid obituary, the text is published exactly as submitted by the funeral home or family.
The Darien Times carries news obituaries of anyone who lived in town at the time of death or who once lived in town — no matter how long ago. We will also publish abbreviated obituaries of residents’ parents, siblings and children who have not lived here, and of people who worked in Darien but did not live here. We don’t run obituaries of aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends, etc., who never lived here. Nor do we do news obituaries of people who did business in Darien, but did not have offices or a store here. These restrictions do not apply to paid obituaries.
For relatives who never lived here, we will publish an obituary that includes basic biographical information, as well as lists any survivors who live in Darien or have lived in Darien. We will not list the names and places of residence of survivors who have never lived here. Thus, for instance, an obituary of a Darienite’s parent, who lived in Ohio, would include as named survivors only the Darienite (son or daughter) and the Darienite’s children (grandchildren of the person who died). We would note that survivors also include five daughters, two sons, four brothers, three sisters, etc, but would not give all their names and places of residence. Space constraints force us to impose these restrictions.
Yes. For instance, in an obituary of John Smith of Darien, we could write: “Mr. Smith is survived by a daughter, Mary Jones, and her husband, John, of Fitchburg, Mass., and a son, Joseph, and his wife, Joan, of Westport…” It is up to the family members whether they want to list spouses.
Yes, if the person lived in Darien at some time. In fact, we encourage you to submit a photo because a picture helps make the obituary more human and allows more people to recognize the person who died. (Often, we know people by the faces, but not their names — the man we greet at the supermarket each week, the woman who walks her dog along our road, etc.) Photos should be clear and sharp, not too dark or light. They may be recent or from some time ago; if it is an old photo, please give the approximate year. Except in very unusual circumstances, we use only the head-and-shoulders view of a person — the typical portrait-style picture. However, that head-and-shoulders view may come from a photo that has several people in it; we can crop out the others. In the case of paid obituaries, we will publish a one-column-wide picture at no extra fee.
No. The online obituaries are limited to Darienites — people who lived here at some point in their lives. They are placed online automatically and at no charge.
Yes, but remember that, unless you are submitting a paid obituary, we may need to edit information into a format or style that is typical of a newspaper news story. See next question.
Here are some things to include in an obituary:
- Date and place of death.
- When and where the person was born, and who the parents were.
- Where did the person grow up?
- Did the person go to Darien High School? Year of graduation?
- If the person went to college, where and when?
- Military service? Which branch, when, where? Any notable decorations? Rank on being discharged?
- Where did the person work — and what did he or she do (many obituaries fail to tell what a person actually did; they give a job title and employer, and little more).
- When did the person come to Darien? Did the family live at more than one address here?
- When did the person move from Darien (if applicable) and where to?
- Clubs or organizations the person belonged to locally, even if a while ago. Any offices held?
- Church affiliation. And was the person active in any church organizations?
- Hobbies and interests. Also, was the person especially good at or noted for some hobby, avocation, or sport?
- Recollections of character traits: “She was known all over the neighborhood for helping kids with problems” or “He had a great sense of humor, and could tell a joke like a professional comedian.” (We would have to quote and attribute such statements, but they are very nice to include in an obituary. They help give a sense of the person.)
- When doing survivors of a Darienite’s parent who may not have lived here, don’t forget to include grandchildren who live in Darien or who grew up in Darien.
- Many people use the occasion of death to benefit a charity or organization close to the heart of the person who died. If you’d like us to include “Contributions in his/her memory may be made to…”, please give us a full mailing address of the organization. That makes it easier for someone to send a contribution.
- Since our obituaries are news stories, we would not use phrases like “beloved mother of” or “has gone into the arms of The Lord.”
- There are many online examples of obituaries long and short, and we recommend that you read a few; they may help you think of information to include. See The Darien Times Obituaries for examples.
Paid obituaries cost $200, no matter how long. That includes a photo if the family wants one.
No, they both appear the same in the paper. The only difference, aside from lack of editing of paid obituaries, is the credit line at the end. On a news obituary, it says, “—by the staff.” On a paid obituary, it says “—by the family.”
Usually, the funeral home will submit an obituary for you. However, you may submit a free news obituary or a paid obituary using one of our online submission forms. Obituaries may also be received by fax to 203-656-4240 (emergencies only), by postal mail or FedEx to 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820, or by telephone, 203-656-4230. The best method is our online submission forms since it eliminates the need to retype information, introducing the chance of typographical errors. We can accept Microsoft Word files, RTF files, plain text, or just an e-mail with the information typed into it. Always include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number where we can easily reach you for confirmation and questions. Without the phone number, we will not publish the obituary.
If it is a paid obituary placed by the family, payment must be made in advance by credit card or check. If the paid obituary is placed by a funeral home, we will bill the funeral home.
While photos may be submitted electronically, we recommend that you give us an original picture to scan. If you prefer an electronic submission, please scan at 150 dots per inch and e-mail the image as a .JPG file. However, we sometimes have difficulty with images that are e-mailed, and can’t guarantee they will be usable.
The Darien Times is a weekly newspaper that arrives in homes Thursdays (except in a few cases of major midweek holidays such as Fourth of July, Christmas or Thanksgiving). The obituary page is put together Wednesdays around 10 a.m.; thus we must receive the obituary before that. The earlier we receive the information, the more attention we can devote to it. If you will be submitting a last-minute obituary, please try to warn us as much in advance as possible so we can plan for space and for staff time.
For obituary information, contact us here or call 203-656-4230. If it’s after hours, please leave a message. For billing information, call Beverly McGerald at 203-894-3339.
We are happy to have someone from the family “proof” the obituary, if possible. However, any changes must reach us by the deadline (above). Call 203-656-4230 with questions.
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