Hey there Toni,
It sounds like you are needing to unlock this iPad but the passcode is unknown. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. According to the following article you should use recovery mode to restore the iPad and be able to use it. The caveat to this is that it will delete all the data on the iPad.
Use recovery mode
Follow these steps if you never synced your device with iTunes, if you don't have Find My iPhone set up, or if you can't get to your own computer. You'll need to put your device in recovery mode, which will erase the device and its passcode. Then you'll restore your device as new or from a backup.
Disconnect all cables from your device.
Turn off your device.
Press and hold the Home button. While holding the Home button, connect your device to iTunes. If your device doesn't turn on automatically, turn it on.
Continue holding the Home button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.
iTunes will alert you that it has detected a device in recovery mode.
Click OK, then restore the device.
Thank you for using Apple Support Communities.
Sterling r, though it's not clear if this device is running iOS 7 or not, you should probably have told the OP about iCloud: Activation Lock since that it the issue he seems to be describing and asking about.
@cw30, if this device is running iOS 7 and you try to clear it, you will not be able to activate it again without knowing the original user's Apple ID and password. In your situation, Apple might be able to help. Contact Apple support in your country and ask for the Account Security Team. Explain the situation and perhaps they can asset you. Find the number to call at the link below.