A year or so ago, I deleted the email address of Bill Moggridge, famous for founding IDEO, from my contacts. I don't know how or why I had his email, especially since I never actually talked to or exchanged any correspondence with him in person. Its probably the third or fourth person who's contact I deleted because they were dead. The first was my father.
I wonder if the iOS Contacts designers ever thought of this? Or the Google Contacts designers? Delete a person. Delete a person because the person represented there in those letters and numbers is dead. That's it, gone forever. No ceremony, no ritual, no grand speech, no burning of paper or photos – nothing. Just a simple red button and they're gone.
I've often thought that the least the manufacturer could do was send a little message afterwards; that is if the phone or operating system knew it was my dad, saying sorry, that must have meant something to you. It's probably better though if they didn't.