He slept under the stars in the Sierra Nevada mountains and woke up once to see a bear rummaging through his pack. I wasn’t around back then, but I’ve seen photos of Ralph from this time. He was almost unrecognizable. The Uncle Ralph that I knew was a clean-cut Presbyterian minister. “
How to Write a Memorable Tribute Speech: Step-By-Step
Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure.
A tribute takes on so many different meanings, it can be hard to remember what it’s supposed to be. But when you write a tribute speech, you can get to its true purpose, which is to honor a specific person. Usually, you can hear tribute speeches at funerals, memorials, and celebrations — but all tend to follow a similar formula.
Here are some helpful steps for writing a tribute speech:
Tip: While speaking at a virtual event, like a live-streamed memorial organized by a service such as GatheringUs , practice your speech using your video conferencing software ahead of time so you can anticipate and fix any audio issues.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one’s family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
For a Parent
“Good afternoon. I am Peter, Mary’s oldest son. My sister Patricia and I would like to welcome you to the memorial service of our mom. I’m going to be honest. I’m a high school teacher, so I am used to public speaking. But presenting this tribute will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Please give me grace as I struggle through my thoughts and ideas and try to articulate what an amazing woman my mom was.
First, you probably didn’t know this, but my mom has been quietly working with the homeless population for years. She didn’t talk about it. In fact, she never said anything to my sister or me about her work. Instead, she would quietly prepare bags of snacks and toiletries every Sunday evening, and then several times throughout that week, she would distribute the packages to the homeless communities downtown. I see the looks of surprise on some of your faces, and you probably are asking yourself how you didn’t know this about my mom. That’s just the type of person she was—selfless and humble.”
For a Partner or Spouse
“Finally, besides being grateful for my amazing children and close friends, I am thankful for the treasure trove of memories that I have of my life with Michael. Even though I feel as if my right arm has been removed, I know that someday I may again laugh when I remember some of his god-awful jokes.
Eventually, I will be able to use his Graceland coffee cup without breaking down into tears. There will come a point when I will be able to look back at our lifetime of memories together and smile. Until then, I would love for you to share your memories of Michael with me. It comforts me to know that there are others out there thinking of and mourning for this great man.”
#8 – Aaron’s Last Wish
Family members often take steps after a passing to ensure their loved one’s final wishes are carried out. For Seth Collins, honoring the final wishes of his brother, Aaron, who committed suicide in 2012, was about more than just completing a simple task. It was about creating a lasting movement of goodwill. The family found a will on Aaron’s computer asking that family “Leave an awesome tip (and I don’t mean 25 percent. I mean $500 on a pizza) for a waiter or waitress.” After Seth gave his first tip in Aaron’s memory to a waitress in Kentucky, he realized he wanted to keep the gesture going in remembrance of his brother. He posted a video online which lead to a flood of donations from across the country and the beginning of the Aaron’s Last Wish road trip project. To date, Seth has given away more than 80 $500 tips to waiters and waitresses in nearly all 50 states.
#7 – Mourners Remember Biker by Dressing as Favorite Characters
Batman, Mario and Fred Flintstone were all in attendance to honor the memory of Gary Pattision, a popular biker known for his sweetness and enduring wit. Gary was killed in a motorbike accident earlier this year and his last request was that mourners dress as favorite characters for his funeral. More than 250 of his friends and family did not disappoint, dressing up as everything from superheroes to snack foods. The one-of-a-kind service also included a fire breather and 1930s jazz musician making for an incredibly memorable funeral for a man many will never forget.
For everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under Heaven.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
~ John 3:16
Choose this day whom ye will serve;
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
– Psalm 91:1
No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him
– I Corinthians 2:9
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
May the roads rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back, may the sunshine warm your face,
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.