Hi Louise, Some Public Libraries - hold newspapers in their collection on Microfilm
some go back quite far - Obituaries probably not indexed - so one would need to search - newspapers by date - then surname / name.
Cemetery Offices / Funeral Homes - can advise re dates of death / burial or cremation.
Obituaries / Newspapers - online - is fairly new.
There are some old newspapers onlinehttp://news.google.com/newspapers#H
Perhaps: Posting the names of interest - the years of death - etc to this message board might be helpful. There may be persons also researching the families - may have the information you seek - Also - persons reading these message boards - can be very helpful - may offer to search some information for you - perhaps while doing their own research - or just out of kindness