Announce the Death of an Employee or an Employee's Relative • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


Make this announcement as soon as possible. Its timeliness and sensitivity are as important as the words you use in conveying the message. It need not be lengthy to be appropriate.

How to write this announcement letter:

  1. Make the announcement in a direct yet respectful way.
  2. Give a personal expression of concern and sympathy.
  3. Add information that friends will need to know.

Example Letter #1


Our hearts go out to Jane Doe who lost her father in an automobile accident near Springfield last Saturday night. We all know how proud he was of Jane's accomplishments and how he supported our Christmas charities. We will all miss a great human being. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jane at this time.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Springfield Community Church. Those wishing to contribute to a floral piece should see Suzanne Johnson at the main desk. Jane's co-workers who wish to attend the service will be excused from work.

Example Letter #2


It is with deep personal regret that I inform you of Eric Doe's death. Eric died after a long struggle with leukemia. Each of us not only grieves at the passing of a tremendous individual but also for the loss his family suffers. Prior to his death, Eric expressed his desire to have contributions made to the American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers. The funeral will be held on Saturday, July 17, at 3:00 p.m. Internment will follow at Springfield City Cemetery.

Example Letter #3


We have lost a dear friend and valued colleague. Jane Doe took her own life yesterday afternoon. Our grief and confusion at this time are little compared to what Jane's family must be feeling. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. There will be a short memorial service at Springfield beach this Saturday at 12:00 noon.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Make the announcement in a direct yet respectful way.

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • I am very sorry to inform you that John Doe passed away last night at his home in Springfield.
  • I have just learned that John Doe was among the passengers in the plane that crashed at the Springfield airport last night. Doctors confirmed his death at 7:00 a.m. this morning.
  • At 6:35 p.m. yesterday we all lost a special friend when Jane Doe was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Highway 80.
  • Our hearts go out to John Doe, whose mother passed away on Saturday after an extended illness.
  • I am sure you will join with me in deeply felt sympathy for Jane and John Doe who lost their premature baby last night.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • all lost a special friend when
  • am very sorry to inform you
  • are sad to announce that
  • are sorry to tell you
  • deeply felt sympathy to
  • did not survive
  • died suddenly
  • has succumbed to
  • have just learned that
  • hearts go out to
  • it is with deep regret that
  • join with me in
  • may have heard that
  • multiple health problems
  • passed away on
  • passed away after a short illness
  • received very sad news concerning
  • unexpectedly passed away
  • was fatally injured in
  • was among the passengers

2 Give a personal expression of concern and sympathy.

Sample Sentences for Step 2
  • Those of you who were close to John know of the valiant struggle he waged during these past months. We will miss him sorely in our personnel division and I, for one, will miss his good humor.
  • I know this comes as a shock to everyone. Our prayers go out to his wife, Jane, who has been such a wonderful support for him. Now is the time for us to support her.
  • Her positive attitude and desire to be of service to others, even during her darkest hours, has touched us all. Our best wishes and love to John and his family during this difficult time.
  • It is especially hard when lives have been filled with so much anticipation and planning. I am sure you feel the same sympathy and love for Jane and John that I do at this difficult time.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
  • best wishes and love
  • comes as a shock
  • comfort the grieving family
  • desire to be of service
  • especially hard to see
  • hard to believe that
  • has made a significant contribution to
  • has never let us down
  • has touched us all
  • her darkest hours
  • his positive attitude
  • loss will be deeply felt
  • maintained a cheerful outlook
  • struggle with her illness
  • support the family during this sad time
  • this difficult time
  • those of you who were close to
  • thoughts go out to
  • tragedy of his illness
  • tragic circumstances
  • valiant struggle she waged
  • will miss his
  • will be sorely missed

3 Add information that friends will need to know.

Sample Sentences for Step 3
  • His funeral will be held at the Springfield Mortuary at 10:00 a.m. on Monday. Friends may call Sunday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 and one hour before the service on Monday. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the United Way.
  • Jane has asked that any contributions in John's memory be given to the Springfield Children's Hospital, where their own child received life-saving care. A memorial service will be held Thursday at 3:00 p.m. at the Springfield Mortuary. Our offices will close at 2:30 p.m. on that day.
  • John's wake will be held tomorrow evening at Springfield Funeral Home. The company has already arranged for flowers to be sent on your behalf.
  • A funeral service will be held at the Springfield Center Church at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. Friends may be excused from work to attend.
  • Little Joshua will join his grandparents in the family plot in Springfield. A graveside service will be held for family members.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
  • a funeral service will be
  • attend the memorial services
  • donations may be sent to
  • family has requested
  • family would appreciate
  • flowers sent from the department
  • friends may call
  • funeral will be private
  • funeral will be held
  • graveside service
  • have arranged for flowers
  • in lieu of flowers
  • instead of flowers
  • may be excused from work
  • memorial service will be held
  • office will be closed
  • services will be held at
  • those who choose can
  • viewing will be
  • wake will be held
  • will close for the memorial service
  • wishing to contribute to