How to Write a Retirement Tribute to a Friend
Writing a retirement tribute can be a daunting task. This is especially so if you are writing a tribute for a close friend, as you may feel pressured to write a very stirring or touching tribute. Whether or not you are a skilled writer, you can write a tribute that respectfully pays homage to your friend and his professional achievements.
Brainstorm ideas for the speech. Recall funny, special or meaningful moments shared with the retiree, as well as stories that characterize the retiree's professional experiences and endeavors. Contact current and past co-workers and family members of the retiree. Ask these people to share a favorite story about the retiree or to describe the retiree's personal characteristics and professional strengths.
Begin the speech by identifying yourself and your relationship with the retiree, in case members of the audience wonder. For instance, describe that you first met the retiree in graduate school and that he has been a friend ever since. However, focus the speech on the retiree and his achievements, rather than your friendship with him.
Write from the heart, but avoid being excessively sentimental. Show your respect, care and esteem for your friend, without worshiping him. Consider your audience and respect the decorum of the office or environment in which the tribute will be read. Use formal language and style for a formal retirement ceremony; alternatively, use casual language for a more low-key ceremony.
Include stories and tidbits contributed by yourself and others. Choose stories that speak to the retiree's character and ethics, as well as stories that will amuse the audience without embarrassing the retiree too much. Read a few sentences of the kind words that others shared about the retiree, as these are sure to touch him.
Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.