I need to list a married couple as honorees on an event invitation. They are the recipients of an award, but the husband has recently passed. If I say the late Joe and Jane Smith, does that imply they are both deceased? Recommendations appreciated!

  • 'The late Joe Smith and his wife Jane'? 'Jane Smith and her late husband Joe'? Feb 11, 2023 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


It would probably be best to say "Jane Smith and the late John Smith." If the award was given to only Mr. Smith, who died after being named the recipient OR it is awarded posthumously, then it should be announced that Mr. Smith is the recipient of the award, followed by "Accepting the Award on his behalf, John Smith's wife, Jane Smith."

If awarded to both individuals, the announcement is probably best to announce without any acknowledgement of Mr. Smith's passing, followed by the announcement that Jane Smith is accepting on Mr. Smith's passing (I.E. "And the award for Best Parenthetical Demonstration of Concept goes to... John and Jane Smith. Jane Smith will be accepting the Award on her husband's behalf.")

This allows Mrs. Smith to discuss her husband's passing in a manner she is comfortable with, while acknowledging the lack of Mr. Smith in a tasteful way. Let Mrs. Smith explain the matter in her own acceptance speech... since people handle death of a loved one differently.

  • Great, thank you so much. Incredibly helpful and very appreciated.
    – Mimi B.
    Feb 13, 2023 at 16:38

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