Since You Asked: proving death

How can I get my grandmother dead? Since her death in January 2003 in Medford, she has been called to jury duty twice, and we have received countless advertisements and promotions for her in the mail. I've patiently called each company to notify them of her demise and ask them to remove her from their mailing lists. But I'm afraid "Big Brother" still thinks she's alive. How can I make him understand that she's dead?

— Geneve S., Medford

It's bad enough that you had to lose your grandmother, but to have companies and a justice system be deaf to the fact just adds insult to injury.

It could just be the harsh reality of red tape in large organizations, or it could be a case of mistaken identity.

Generally, there are a few ways to get your point across to these organizations: Grandma is gone from this earth.

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent to the National Do Not Call Registry when it comes to mail. But other databases that help with the problem do exist.

The Direct Marketing Association at will take your grandma off a host of mailing lists at a cost of $1, which will greatly reduce the amount of mail you're receiving on her behalf. To take her name off the list for credit card and insurance offers, visit, which is sponsored by the four credit reporting agencies. Jan Margosian, spokesperson for state Attorney General's Office, said calling companies to ask them to stop mail usually doesn't work. It's best to send them a letter. That means you also have a record of the request. If a company continues to send you mail even after you've sent them a letter, you can file a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office.

The court system takes its list of names for jury duty selection from the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division and the voter registration lists. The state Center for Health Statistics is responsible for notifying those agencies when someone has died.

In a follow-up call Since You Asked staff made to you, you said your grandma's name was Ella Corrine Burkert, but she went by Corrine.

She may continue to receive jury summons because the name on her death certificate is different from the names she used for DMV or voter's registration.

You can correct the problem by mailing your grandmother's death certificate to DMV and noting the possible confusion about the name. A phone call probably wouldn't hurt either.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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