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Guidelines : Condolences

Condolences to Business Associate upon Death of a Loved One
Guidelines and Alternate Phrases

  • Express your regret over the death but avoid going into the details of the illness or tragedy, its consequences, or how you heard of the incident.
  • The news of Vera’s death came to me early yesterday morning. I was overwhelmed with sadness.
  • We regret so much the news about your wife’s illness and death.
  • Our entire staff has asked me to express to you our sincerest sympathies in the death of your husband.
  • Our thoughts are with you during these days of sadness. We were so sorry to hear of your grandson’s accident.
  • We would like to extend our deepest sympathy in the loss of your mother.
  • I can’t say how shocked and saddened I was to hear of your husband’s illness and sudden death. Please know my thoughts are with you during this time.
  • I wanted to drop you a note to let you know I share your grief in Ron’s death. I will miss him so much.
  • Although Mildred’s illness was a lengthy one and her death not unexpected, that does not lessen the grief we all feel at her passing away.
  • Please accept my deepest sympathy in the death of your mother, of whom you spoke so affectionately and so often.
  • Frank, my prayers are with you in this tragedy. Although words are of little comfort at a time like this, please know we are thinking of you daily.
  • My thoughts have been with you almost continually since I heard the news of your wife’s death. I am so sorry.
  • Marge, I can’t begin to tell you how sorry we are to hear about Paul. We will miss him so much.
  • Margaret’s death overwhelms me; I just can’t seem to comprehend the loss.
  • We heard of the plane crash last Monday but didn’t learn Tom was a passenger until late last night. We are so sorry.
  • I was so sorry to hear about your husband’s death. You must be devastated by the news, and we want you to know we are thinking of you in this difficult time.
  • Please know our thoughts have been with you ever since the word came about your son and his family.
  • Honor the loved one by offering some specific praise. When you’re unacquainted with the deceased, you may simply pass on complimentary remarks from others (even the recipient of the letter). Such comments help the reader to praise the loved one and to work through his own grief.
  • Freda’s pleasant attitude was contagious to us all.
  • Silvan’s talent was exceeded by very few professionals in the industry.
  • His leadership and direction for the department went unquestioned. We had that much respect for his judgment.
  • We wish we had other employees like her, those who give their best every single day and don’t care who gets the credit for the results.
  • I never heard her complain about anybody’s work or attitude while here. That in itself is remarkable.
  • Although a quiet person, he was always listening for opportunities to support our ideas when the occasion arose.
  • Although Ellen was never a “life of the party” person, her thoughtfulness ran deep. When she did offer her opinion, her ideas were always well grounded and sensible. We depended on her a great deal.
  • She was thorough, capable, and courageous.
  • To the very end, we never heard her offer a comment that indicated she felt sorry for herself and her circumstances. She loved her family and every minute of her life with you.
  • She spoke so frequently around the office of you and her children. You three were the light of her life. That must give you some comfort she felt loved and loved you in return.
  • Although we did not have the opportunity to meet your daughter, we’ve heard you say the relationship was a close one. You can be grateful for that love between you and those memories.
  • I’ve heard you comment often about how supportive Mac was when you had to travel so much with your job. He must have been the kind of understanding husband most women hope to have.
  • She was always so pleasant and helpful to me the times I found it necessary to phone your home after hours.
  • The photographs you have on your desk reveal what a beautiful young woman she was. I know she understood how proud you always were of her achievements throughout her schooling and beyond.
  • Although I didn’t have the privilege of knowing her personally, those in the office who did work with her have frequently commented on her delightful sense of humor.
  • Though somehow our paths never seemed to cross through the years, I heard of her achievement from numerous sources.
  • From all those who have mentioned the shocking news around our office this week, I gather their admiration for Frank ran deep.
  • Even though I didn’t know your father personally, I don’t have to go far to hear others speak of him so fondly. Evidently, so many, many people valued their association with him through the years.
  • Offer any help you or the organization can provide, but be specific. General offers (“if there’s anything I can do to help”) sound insincere.
  • If we can help with any hotel arrangements for out-of-town relatives traveling to the memorial service, let us know.
  • If I can provide assistance through our legal department, please call on me.
  • I’m sure the estate details are complex and varied. If you need assistance, we have an expert on staff who can possibly offer you advice when the time comes to make further decisions.
  • If we can provide temporary assistance for the children’s care while you must be out of town, both Joan Black and I are free for the weekend. I’ll phone you later in the week to see what you decide.
  • If you feel the need to get away for a quiet rest during the coming months, please phone me; we have a house on Lake Livingston we’d be glad for you to use.
  • If you’d like me to notify specific clients and colleagues you’ll be away from the office for a while, I’d be more than happy to help in that small way.
  • Let me know if there is any major project on your desk that can’t wait for your return, and I’ll be happy to cover for you. My home number is 234-5678.
  • Mention any memorial you are making on behalf of the deceased such as flowers, a book, or monetary donations.
  • The flowers represent the beautiful memories Carol left behind.
  • We are sending flowers as an expression of our esteem for Ralph.
  • Gene’s portrait will be hung in our executive meeting room as a constant reminder of his leadership in our organization.
  • Our check to the museum Sherry so diligently worked to support should arrive shortly.
  • In honor of Kevin, we are forwarding a check to the American Cancer Society.
  • The flowers you have received are a small expression of the great loss we feel.
  • Please accept our small donation to the art fund as our way of saying thank you for the community pride Bill exemplified with his life.
  • We have made a donation to the American Cancer Society in Bill’s name. In some small way, we want to add to his influence in the world.
  • We’ve donated two copies of Peter Drucker’s latest book to our library in memory of Joan. Everyone interested in the leadership skills and management philosophies Joan exemplified will see her name on the book’s inside cover.
  • The flowers that will be arriving shortly are a small symbol of my great esteem for Jerome.
  • Handwrite your letter on personal stationery to add a warmer touch.

Example 1: Condolences Letters

Dear Conroy:
The Atlanta office called this morning with news of your wife’s tragic accident. I am so sorry.
During our recent time together at the Orlando convention, I recall your breaking away early from our dinner several evenings to phone her. You two must have been very close, and it should give you some comfort that you made such an effort to stay in touch with your family as often as possible even while traveling.
Please don’t worry about the upcoming appointment we had scheduled for next month. Your schedule, I’m sure, will need to be re-worked, and I can get any necessary regional reports from other sources.
I’ll pray God’s comfort for you and the children in this time.

Example 2: Sympathy letter

Dear Ms. Pelena and Children:
We want to express our deepest sympathy for the death of your husband and father. The heart attack was such a shock to us all in the office that we have gotten very little done since hearing the news.
In our office, Bob was the one individual whom everyone got along with and enjoyed having around, no matter the occasion. Whether it was his constant reminders to drive carefully as we left the office, his welcome-back hug after our vacations, or his “now if I were in your shoes” advice on career moves, he acted like a father to us all. We will miss him.
As a small gesture of our admiration, we are sending a donation to the Heart Fund in his honor. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Example 3: Condolence letter to a co work

Dear Ms. Phillips:
Tim Johnson mentioned in our staff meeting this morning your husband had just passed away after such a long illness. Please accept my sincerest sympathies.
I’ve heard others around the office who knew him comment on his jovial nature. They also recall your telling of so many weekend golfing tournaments in which you both participated. I understand he was quite a golfer and made the game enjoyable for all who played with him. You will miss him terribly, I know.
We have asked Margie Turner to take over the pending projects on your desk. Take the time you need.

Example 4: A letter of condolence

Dear Mr. Graves:
I heard of Mary’s death on the TV news as soon as the hospital released the list of those involved in the accident. I want you to know how sorry I am; words can’t express, I’m sure, how much you will feel the loss.
Although I didn’t work closely with Mary, she had a fine reputation as a talented engineer who had contributed greatly to our organization. Her project team frequently commented on her creativity, her knack for reading a client’s mind, and her willingness to work long hours to get the job done. I’m sure she was an equally devoted wife, mother, and friend.
We are sending flowers as a token of our memories of her. Please accept our sincere sympathy on your loss.

Example 5: Sample letter of condolences for death

Dear Mrs. Glover,
I was so sorry to hear of Frank’s heart attack and sudden death. He was a person who always had a smile on his face and a word of encouragement for those around him. His can-do attitude about anything assigned to our group became contagious in the company. He was always available to us and showed a willingness to help in any way he could. Day in and day out, he showed the kind of motivation and leadership all of us on his staff so much admired.
But even more than that leadership position, I have always valued my close and friendly association with Frank. There is for most people that one special individual who becomes a mentor, offering guidance, introductions, inspiration, encouragement, solace over failure, and, most importantly, an example of success. For me, Frank was that person.
As a memorial to his leadership and friendship, we have had his latest photo (that from the annual report) framed and hung in one of our conference rooms on this floor. We will not forget him.
In deepest sympathy,

Example 6: Condolences sample letter

Dear Mr. Paton:
Last week while attending a management meeting in Hartford, I heard your father had passed away after a long illness. I didn’t want to let the news go by without expressing to you how much I appreciated him during our long years together at Iowa Systems.
With any new job, there are always difficult adjustments, relationships that cause conflict, and assignments that build stress. I had my share during those first few years, and your father was the individual who offered encouragement, support, and even advancement opportunities and referrals when it was within his power to do so. More than that career advice and networking, he became my friend, with all the camaraderie that label entails. Even though we hadn’t stayed in close contact since his retirement, I drew great comfort in knowing he “was there” for me should I need to talk. My only great regret is I didn’t phone him more often in his last year or two.
Would you please express my sympathies to your other family members?

Example 7: Condolences letter examples

Dear Mrs. Marks,
We were distressed to hear from Brian Ellis that Jim had passed away after such a long illness.
We knew Jim to be energetic, enthusiastic, and a highly motivated employee–constantly looking after the company’s welfare. He worked as an inspector, a supervisor, and finally general manager, doing a splendid job at anything we assigned him. A company is only as great as the collective employees who represent it and give it purpose and meaning. Jim comes foremost to my mind in being that kind of representative.
I also know with certainty he was that kind of devoted husband and father. Please express my condolences to your sons.
All of us at Appleby share with you in your loss. Flowers from the office staff should be arriving shortly. Please accept this as a small token of our sympathy and a tribute to Jim and the fond memories he left with us.

Example 8: Consolation letters

Dear Jerry,
I have heard of your father’s death from several sources during the last two days. I am so sorry. Even though your dad retired some time ago, he maintained his friendships with people in the industry he’d known all his working life.
Many people seem to “fade away” after they retire, but that certainly wasn’t the case with your father. He had such a pleasant personality he created an image in people’s minds that endeared him to them for years. His name frequently comes up in office conversations and “story swaps.”
It must be a great comfort to you to know your father realized your deep affection for him. The newspaper clipping noted he had 16 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Youngsters need heroes and role models today; please tell them from one who knew your father well that their grandfather had the respect and admiration of all who knew him.
In deepest sympathy,

Example 9: Sympathy condolence letter to colleague

Joe Smith called me early this morning to tell me of your father’s death. Although I heard of the tragic crash from news reports, I had no idea your father was on the plane.
Often I’ve heard you speak of the great weekend trips to your father’s lake cabin and the enjoyable times you spent together. I know the loss must be overwhelming to you at the moment. Please accept my deepest sympathy.
I’ve asked Harold Jarvis to take over all unfinished projects on your desk so you can take all the time you need to handle details at home.

Example 10: Example of Condolences

Dear Mr. Hartford,
We learned of your son’s death when one of your customers, Abrams Milo, called on us this morning. Although we have not worked with your son personally, we have heard from many sources he was well-respected among his colleagues.
Of course, his contributions to the community are known by anyone who has lived in the city for any period of time. Our community needs many more giving individuals like Jack–those who work and don’t care who gets the credit for their achievements.
Jack’s company has served us well, and we know that excellence stems from his leadership and tenets of management. Our sympathies are with you in this loss.

Example 11: Condolences

Our department was so sorry to hear of the automobile accident and Eva’s death. I remember meeting her at the organizational Christmas banquet last year and, at that time, thinking what a warm, intelligent person she was. In fact, we talked of your plans to move into the position you now hold. From what you’ve said of her, too, I know she must have provided inspiration, meaning, and emotional support in so many of your career accomplishments. I can only imagine what a great loss this will be to you and your two boys.
All of us here in the office want to express our sympathy by making a contribution to the American Heart Fund in her name. If you can think of anything we can do as far as notifying other colleagues or clients, please let us know.


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