Memorial Inscription: Format, Ideas and Quotes for Urn or Headstone Epitaph

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When suddenly faced with the death of a loved one and the myriad of decisions about final arrangements, memorial service details, burial or cremation, etc., it is often difficult to sit and think well about what to put on a memorial stone or cremation urn as an epitaph to commemorate a loved one's life. Here are some standard formatting options and ideas for headstone and urn inscriptions to start you on the right track.

Standard Inscription Format:

In Loving Memory
John Doe
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999

Other first lines:

In Memorium

In Remembrance

In Fondest Memory Of

In Treasured Memory Of

In Honored Memory Of

In Cherished Memory Of

Happy Memories Of

Other epitaph date formats:

1/1/43 – 12/31/99

1/1/1943 – 12/31/1999

Jan. 1, 1943 – Dec. 31, 1999

1943 – 1999

Additional Lines:

Often a short epitaph, 2-15 words in length, will be engraved below the dates. See below for list of short epitaphs. The format would then look like this:

In Loving Memory
Jane Doe
January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1999
Faithful Wife, Loving Mother

Engraving a middle name:

John D. Doe

John David Doe

Engraving a nickname:

John “Jack” Doe

Bible Verses for Headstone or Urn Inscription:

(For more Scripture verses fit for an epitaph, click here.)

Love is patient, love is kind.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

God is our refuge and our strength.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV)

He gives His beloved sleep.

The Lord bless thee and keep thee;
The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.

And so we will be with the Lord forever.

We live by faith, not by sight.

Short Epitaph Poems for Headstone or Urn Inscription:

You are not forgotten, loved one
Nor will you ever be
As long as life and memory last
We will remember thee

Memory is a lovely lane,
Where hearts are ever true,
A lane I so often travel down,
Because it leads to you.

His charming ways and smiling face,
Are a pleasure to recall,
He had a kindly word for each,
And died beloved by all.

A silent thought, a secret tear,
Keeps his memory ever dear.
Time eases the edge of grief,
Memory turns back every leaf.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Though absent you are very near
Still loved, still missed, and very dear

There is a link death cannot sever,
Love and remembrance last forever

Remembered always with love sincere
Memories keep him ever near

You still live on in the hearts and minds
Of the loving family you left behind

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee

Short Epitaphs for Headstone or Urn Inscription:

Loving Father, Husband, Brother, and Friend

Loving Mother, Wife, Sister, and Friend

Faithful and Loving Husband

Faithful and Loving Wife

  (etc.)

Sadly Missed, Lovingly Remembered

Forever Remembered, Forever Missed

Safe In the Arms of Jesus

Asleep In Jesus

He, Being Dead, Yet Speaketh (Hebrews 11:4)

Absent From the Body, Present With the Lord

In God’s Care

I Know My Redeemer Lives

We Love You Always

He Loved and Was Loved

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Blessed Are the Dead That Die In the Lord

In His Keeping

In God’s Hand

Forever In Our Hearts

At Rest

At Peace

Though Gone From Sight To Memory Dear

Until We Meet Again

Safe At Last the Harbour Past

Forever In Our Thoughts

Rest In Peace

May He Rest In Peace

May She Rest In Peace

Much Loved

Peace At Last

-

If you are searching for an urn to engrave, Urns Northwest offers a wide variety of wood and other cremation urns which can be engraved with a personalized inscription.

Author Box
Daniel Szczesniak has 3 articles online

Daniel Szczesniak is manager for retail cremation urn website Urns Northwest.

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Memorial Inscription: Format, Ideas and Quotes for Urn or Headstone Epitaph

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This article was published on 2011/01/21