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The 16 Best Eulogies Ever Written [Famous Funeral Speeches]

Eulogies are a way of paying tribute to someone who has passed away and celebrating their life.

Unfortunately, writing and giving them can be hard.

The task of capturing the essence of a loved one who has passed, and expressing it in words to a gathering of friends and family, is a heavy responsibility.

Despite its difficulties, a eulogy is an incredibly important part of the grieving process. It provides closure, helps to preserve memories, and celebrates the life of the deceased.

On this page, we set out some our favorites; the best eulogies ever written over the years.

16 Best Eulogies Ever Written

1. Mona Simpson’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs

steve jobs memorial plaque

Mona Simpson’s eulogy of Steve Jobs is a personal and heartfelt tribute to the late co-founder of Apple.

Mona shares their own experiences of meeting Jobs, who she ultimately discovered was her long-lost brother.

Throughout the eulogy, Mona describes how Jobs inspired her in different ways over the 27 years that she knew him. She highlights Jobs’ hard work ethic, his love for aesthetics and beauty, and his unwavering commitment to his work even in the face of setbacks.

Related Article: How To Write a Eulogy: Tips, Structure, & Examples [Guide]

Mona’s use of anecdotes and stories brings Jobs to life and makes him feel like a real human, like a friend or family member of our own, not just the legendary figure we know him as. Honestly, Mona’s admiration for Jobs’ commitment to beauty is inspiring and serves as a reminder of how much one person can impact the world.

The eulogy is a touching tribute to Jobs and a fitting farewell to one of the greatest innovators of our time.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Mona Simpson’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs

But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were:

OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.

2. Frank Oz’s Eulogy for Jim Henson

Frank Oz’s eulogy for Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, is a speech that praises the beloved creator and performer, and is another one of the best eulogies ever given.

Frank, who was a friend and colleague of Henson for 27 years, highlights the appreciation and joy that was at the heart of Henson’s life and work.

The eulogy captures the essence of Henson’s spirit through vivid, personal anecdotes that illustrate his love for life. The way Frank describes Henson’s love for the outdoors, his family, his colleagues, and even dessert, showcases the energy and positivity that he brought to life.

This eulogy is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Jim Henson.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Frank Oz’s Eulogy for Jim Henson

Looking here I think I only realise now how large a man this was.  This man that I just worked with and played with, and had so much fun with.

And we did have fun, we had such great silly fun together. The best thing of all—the best thing—is when you watched Jim laugh until he cried.

3. Earl Spencer’s Funeral Oration for Princess Diana

Earl Spencer’s eulogy for his sister Diana is a touching and heartfelt tribute to the late princess.

Spencer does an excellent job of capturing Diana’s essence, painting a picture of a selfless, compassionate, and kind person who used her intuition and vulnerability to connect with those in need.

The speech is personal, with Spencer reminiscing about his time with Diana, and it shows the deep love and admiration he had for his sister, who died tragically.

Overall, this is a beautiful eulogy that captures the essence of Princess Diana.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Earl Spencer’s Eulogy for Princess Diana

There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time. She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment that she received at the hands of the newspapers. I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling.

My own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.

She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate and I do this here Diana on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.

4. Father Michael Duffy’s Eulogy for Father Mychal Judge

person leaving flowers by bust of mychal judge

Michael Duffy’s eulogy for Mychal Judge opens with humility, acknowledging the difficulty of following the many accolades and tributes already given during the service.

Duffy then shares the impact that Father Mychal had on his own life, describing him as a true friend and a source of comfort during a time of national tragedy with 9/11.

The eulogy is full of emotion and reflects the Duffy’s deep faith, which gave him the courage to stand before the crowd and celebrate the life of his friend.

The choice of scripture from the Book of Lamentations was particularly moving and provided a reminder of the hope and renewal that can be found in the darkest of times.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Michael Duffy’s Eulogy for Father Mychal Judge

And so, this morning we come to bury Mike Judge’s body but not his spirit. We come to bury his mind but not his dreams. We come to bury his voice but not his message. We come to bury his hands but not his good works. We come to bury his heart but not his love.

Never his love.

5. Ronald Reagan’s Eulogy for the Crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger

Ronald Reagan’s eulogy for the seven heroes who lost their lives in the Challenger shuttle tragedy is a moving one.

Reagan does an excellent job of capturing the collective grief of the nation and honoring the memory of the fallen astronauts.

I particularly appreciate the way he honors the crew’s dedication and bravery, as well as their spirit of exploration and discovery.

The reference to Sir Francis Drake and the comparison to the Challenger crew’s dedication is a powerful one.

Overall, this eulogy is a touching reminder of the sacrifices made in the pursuit of knowledge and exploration.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Ronald Reagan’s Eulogy for the Crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger

The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them. I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program.

6. Ex-Canadian PM Brian Mulroney’s Eulogy for Queen Elizabeth II

The eulogy given by former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Queen Elizabeth II celebrates Her Majesty’s role as a head of state and her relationship with Canada.

Mulroney speaks fondly of his time serving as the Queen’s Prime Minister and the alignment they shared on various issues, particularly Canadian unity and the Commonwealth.

He highlights the Queen’s support for the liberation of Nelson Mandela and the destruction of apartheid in South Africa. Mulroney also mentions her deep love for Canada and its diversity, geography, and history.

He concludes by recalling the Queen’s words, “I knew myself to be not only amongst friends but amongst fellow countrymen.” The perfect tribute to the Queen’s contributions and her relationship with Canada.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Ex-Canadian PM Brian Mulroney’s Eulogy for Queen Elizabeth II

Today, our system might appear anachronistic to some. I understand that. But to others – who constitute in my judgment the overwhelming majority of Canadians – the role of the monarchy and in particular the irreplaceable role played by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for 70 years, was absolutely indispensable in our country’s hugely impressive, achievements and contributions to peace, prosperity and stability at home and around the world.

7. John Cleese’s Eulogy for Graham Chapman

This eulogy by John Cleese for Graham Chapman is another one of the best. A fantastic tribute to his late friend and fellow Monty Python member.

It is filled with hilarious anecdotes and memories, showcasing Chapman’s love of absurdity and shocking people.

Cleese captures the spirit of Chapman in his unique way of speaking and tells stories that are both absurd and touching.

He also reflects on the role that Chapman played in his life, both as a performer and as a friend.

It is a fitting tribute to a man who lived a life filled with humor, satire, and creativity.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From John Cleese’s Eulogy for Graham Chapman

Graham Chapman, co-author of the ‘Parrot Sketch,’ is no more.

He has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the Great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky, and I guess that we’re all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, such capability and kindness, of such intelligence should now be so suddenly spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he’d achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he’d had enough fun.

8. Bill Clinton’s Eulogy for Richard Nixon

In Bill Clinton’s eulogy for Richard Nixon he highlighted Nixon’s humble beginnings, his journey across America, and his contributions to the country both as President and after leaving office.

He also touched on Nixon’s achievements, controversies, and his tireless spirit.

The eulogy was delivered with a genuine tone of respect, admiration, and gratitude. It was clear that Clinton had a personal relationship with Nixon and was honored to be speaking on his behalf.

The closing words of the eulogy were poignant and emphasized the importance of judging a person’s life in its entirety.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Bill Clinton’s Eulogy for Richard Nixon

Today is a day for his family, his friends, and his nation to remember President Nixon’s life in totality. To them, let us say, may the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close. May we heed his call to maintain the will and the wisdom to build on America’s greatest gift, its freedom, to lead a world full of difficulty to the just and lasting peace he dreamed of.

9. Rev. Al Sharpton’s Eulogy for Tyre Nichols

Rev. Al Sharpton’s eulogy for Tyre Nichol is a powerful and impassioned speech that connects the death of Tyre Nichol to the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Sharpton draws a parallel between the story of Joseph in the Bible and the tragedy of Tyre’s death, painting it as another example of the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.

Throughout the eulogy, Sharpton’s deep sense of injustice and his commitment to the fight for equality shine through.

He delivers a call to action for those in attendance, urging them to demand accountability and to continue the struggle for justice, using Tyre’s eulogy to ensure he did not die in vain.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote From Rev. Al Sharpton’s Eulogy for Tyre Nichols

And here we are Ashely, 55 years later, looking at the balcony where Martin Luther King shed his blood for city workers, for Black city workers to be able to work in the police department, work in sanitation. And the reason why, Mr. and Mrs, Wells, what happened to Tyre is so personal to me is that five Black men that wouldn’t have had a job in the police department – would not ever be thought of to be in the elite squad – in the city that Dr. King lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a Brother to death. 

10. Barack Obama’s Eulogy for John McCain

In this eulogy for John McCain, Obama honors the late senator’s life, character, and achievements.

He highlights McCain’s patriotism and statesmanship and notes how he inspired both Bush and Obama to be better presidents.

Obama emphasizes McCain’s love of unpredictability, his disdain for self-pity, and his irreverence and sense of humor. He notes that despite their differences, McCain and he had a deep respect for one another.

Lastly, Obama highlights McCain’s commitment to upholding values that transcend politics and his belief in honest argument and the importance of our institutions.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Barack Obama’s Eulogy for John McCain

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. but what will happen in all the other days that will ever come can depend on what you do today. What better way to honor John McCain’s life of service than as best we can follow his example to prove that the willingness to get in the arena and fight for this country is not reserved for the few, it is open to all of us, and in fact it is demanded of all of us as citizens of this great republic. That’s perhaps how we honor him best, by recognizing that there are some things bigger than party or ambition or money or fame or power, that the things that are worth risking everything for, principles that are eternal, truths that are abiding. At his best, John showed us what that means. For that, we are all deeply in his debt.

11. Oprah Winfrey’s Eulogy for Rosa Parks

Oprah Winfrey’s Eulogy for Rosa Parks is a beautiful goodbye to a civil rights icon.

Her delivery is personal and emotive, which makes the speech powerful and memorable. The way she describes her childhood impression of Parks as a hundred-feet tall woman and how she later met her in person, is a great example of how Parks’ bravery and grace inspired people of all ages.

Oprah’s words are a testament to Parks’ impact on the world, and how her refusal to give up her seat on the bus changed the trajectory of so many lives.

The final message, “We shall not be moved,” is a reminder of Parks’ strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Oprah Winfrey’s Eulogy for Rosa Parks

So I thank you again, Sister Rosa, for not only confronting the one white man whose seat you took, not only confronting the bus driver, not only for confronting the law, but for confronting history, a history that for 400 years said that you were not even worthy of a glance, certainly no consideration. I thank you for not moving.

12. Cher’s Eulogy for Sonny Bono

Cher’s eulogy for Sonny Bono is a heartfelt goodbye to her former partner and husband.

She speaks candidly about his impact on her life and the misconceptions people had about him.

Through her anecdotes, we get a glimpse into the person he was and the strong bond he and Cher shared.

The eulogy is both humorous and emotional, capturing the spirit of Sonny’s larger-than-life personality.

This is another one of the best eulogies ever written.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Cher’s Eulogy for Sonny Bono

Some people were under the misconception that Sonny was a short man, but he was heads and tails taller than anyone else. He could see above the tallest people. He had a vision of his future and just how he was going to build it.

13. Jawaharlal Nehru’s Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi

Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech for Gandhi is another deeply affecting eulogy, reflective of the immense influence Gandhi had on India and the world.

Nehru captures the sense of grief and loss felt by many upon Gandhi’s passing, while also expressing the hope that Gandhi’s legacy would remain a guiding light for generations to come.

I appreciate the emphasis on unity and the reminder to act with poise and courage in the face of adversity.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Eulogy for Mahatma Gandhi

Friends and Comrades,

The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the Father of the Nation, is no more.

14. Billy Crystal’s Eulogy for Muhammad Ali

Comedian Billy Crystal’s eulogy for Muhammad Ali is humorous; one of the best eulogies of all time for one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Crystal’s personal anecdotes paint a vivid picture of Ali’s impact on not just sports but society as a whole. It captures Ali’s charisma, humor, and bravery, making him more than just a boxer but a symbol of hope for those who fought for civil rights.

This eulogy is a testament to Ali’s lasting legacy and his ability to inspire future generations.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Billy Crystal’s Eulogy for Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali struck us in the middle of America’s darkest night, in the heart of its most threatening gathering storm. His power toppled the mighty foes and his intense light shined on America and we were able to see clearly: injustice, inequality, poverty, pride, self-realization, courage, laughter, love, joy and religious freedom for all.

15. Ex-New Zealand PM Helen Clark’s Eulogy for Sir Edmund Hillary

sir edmund hillary at top of everest

The eulogy for Sir Edmund Hillary by Helen Clark is a fitting tribute to the late New Zealand hero.

Beyond discussing his climb to the top of Mount Everest and how it was a defining moment of the 20th century, Clark also touches on Sir Edmund’s compassion for others. She highlighs his dedication to the wellbeing of the Sherpa people in Nepal and his numerous other endeavors.

The use of words like “colossus” and “hero” help to emphasize the magnitude of Sir Edmund’s impact, making this eulogy a heartfelt memorial for him.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Ex-New Zealand PM Helen Clark’s Eulogy for Sir Edmund Hillary

Sir Ed described himself as a person of modest abilities. In reality he was a colossus. He was our hero. He brought fame to our country. We admired his achievements and the great international respect in which he was held.

But above all, we loved Sir Ed for what he represented – a determination to succeed against the odds, humility, an innate sense of fair play, and a tremendous sense of service to the community, at home and abroad.

16. Winston Churchill’s Eulogy for King George VI

Well known for his inspiring speeches, Winston Churchill’s eulogy for King George VI is no outlier.

It is a beautiful ode to someone who was at the time a beloved monarch.

Churchill’s words are heartfelt and evocative. He gives a vivid description of King George’s character and his influence on the people of England and the world.

What really stands out is how Churchill captures George’s attitude to life and death, depicting him as one “who walked with death as if death were a companion, an acquaintance whom he recognized and did not fear.” This is a powerful reminder to everyone to confront life’s challenges with courage.

Read the full eulogy by clicking here

Our Favorite Quote from Winston Churchill’s Eulogy for King George VI

For fifteen years George VI was King. Never at any moment in all the perplexities at home and abroad, in public or in private, did he fail in his duties. Well does he deserve the farewell salute of all his governments and peoples.

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Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel is a Bachelor of Arts graduate and contributing writer for After Your Time. She shares her thoughts and insights on funerals and death drawing from her background and education. Keep an eye on her articles for fresh perspectives.
Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel is a Bachelor of Arts graduate and contributing writer for After Your Time. She shares her thoughts and insights on funerals and death drawing from her background and education. Keep an eye on her articles for fresh perspectives.

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