How To!

How To Write the Perfect Obituary

My dad recently passed away. How do I tell his story?


Episode Notes

Laura’s dad lived an unusual life. He raised 12 children on a farm without running water in the Texas countryside while also programming his own website that connected families, for free, with help when they were going through difficult times. Ever since he passed away this January, Laura has been searching for a way to tell his story, hoping to ultimately post what she writes about her father on Facebook. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Glenn Rifkin, author of Future Forward and veteran obituary writer at the New York Times, to help Laura craft the perfect remembrance. A good place for Laura to start, Glenn says, is to interview the many members of her family, acting as a reporter to gather as many stories about her dad as she can.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Say the Right Thing at the Worst Time.

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Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.


About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Amanda Ripley (bestselling author of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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