The obituary I looked at was that of poet Ai.
The reporter used a number of sources. They contacted the head of the English department at the college where Ai taught, they used reviews people had written about her work in the past, past interviews with her, and even a poem she wrote.
It did have a standard obituary lead. It worked because it explained who she was and why her death was something that would have an affect on people.
It differs from a resume because there was emotion in it and more feeling behind the words. It did not simply say what she did, but how, why, when, etc. It was much more personable and emotional than a resume.
Overall, it was a very beautiful obituary about Ai.