Obituaries - list of survivors

Don’t need answer soon. Say a couple are both in their second marriage and when they got married each had adult children. The children never lived with the couple or got adopted but all are close to the couple.

When one of the couple dies are the children of the surviving spouse listed as survivors? If so, how would they be listed?


I’ve been doing a fair bit of genealogical research lately, and read more than a few obits, and I’ve never seen otherwise unrelated children of the surviving mentioned.

I the US, obituaries aren’t required and in my experience it’s up to whomever is requesting it decides who and what is included. So it could be <deceased>, survived by <spouse> and <children>, <step-children>.

For my Dad’s obituary, in addition to my brother and sister’s spouses being listed, she insisted my live-in girlfriend be listed also because my Dad genuinely liked her. We had her listed a after my name (I’m the youngest) as “friend”. We all assumed she would be taken as my partner, but a few friends of my Mom thought she was my Dad’s girlfriend!

Edit: In Hawaii, it’s common to have hanai listed. Hanai can be anyone (though usually children), related or unrelated, but treated as an equal (son, daughter, uncle, aunt) by another family.

It’s entirely up to whoever handles the arrangements to decide who goes in the obituary (if any) and how the survivors and predecessors in death are listed. They might not be listed, they might be tossed into the list of children, they might be listed as step-children.

In my father’s obituary my two older half-sisters (from my mother) were listed, without any qualifiers. They were children when my parents were married, but no contact until they were both adults (I did not know they existed until I was 14).

In my family it depends on how close they were to the step-family/children. We have listed them as a rule but its not 100%. One uncle married someone with children in their 30s and died a year or so afterwards. He never met the “kids” and really didn’t have any contact with them so the decision was not to include them. Another relative had 4 pallbearers who were in their 20s when he (their natural father) married into the clan — 20 years before. And “Dad” was 10 years in his grave. All of them were included just as the joint children were. I would call it case by case.

I swear I’ve seen some obituaries that listed pets!

Pets are not out of the question. Obituaries are often paid services and within some pretty broad bounds what’s included or not is up to the person arranging services (i.e. paying the funeral director, who is also generally the one who submits the obituary).

I have. My favorite was one that actually said “she had no grandchildren but is survived by her grand-dog” and gave the name.

A local cop who was killed by a guy who had been stopped had his K-9 partner in the obituary listed.

I saw an obituary one time that listed neighbors as survivors. There are no official rules.