Helen Devos, philanthropist and LeeU contributor, passes away at age 90
Helen DeVos, philanthropist and wife of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, passed away Wednesday due to complications with a stroke, following her recent diagnosis of myeloid leukemia. She was 90 years old.
DeVos is survived by her husband, their four children, 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“While we grieve her passing, we rejoice in her new life in heaven and are grateful for the countless ways she blessed our lives,” her family said, in a statement released Thursday morning. “We are comforted in knowing that she was welcomed home into the loving arms of Jesus.”
DeVos spent her life as an educator, and routinely contributed to her and her husband’s charity, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.
According to MichiganLive, “the DeVos family has given away more than $1.2 billion over the years, a majority of the donations coming from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.”
But DeVos’s personal projects were the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and furthering the mission of Christian education.
DeVos was close friends with Lee University President Paul Conn for many years, and Lee’s College of Education was named in her honor.
“Helen DeVos has been a loving friend of Lee for many years. She has been a critical philanthropic player in project after project, and she loved visiting our campus and hearing of our successes,” Conn said in a statement.
Thanks to their unrelenting service and philanthropy, Richard and Helen were co-recipients of many awards, including the Distinguished Citizens Award from the Gerald R. Ford Boy Scouts Council, the Hillman Award from the Alliance for Health, Clare Boothe Luce Award from The Heritage Foundation and the Grand Rapids Arts Council Award.
Helen DeVos herself received multiple accolades like the American Red Cross Circle of Humanitarians Award and a Distinguished Women's Award from Northwood University.
Despite DeVos’s heavy service involvement, her family always viewed her as their rock.
“We will never forget her unfailing love, strength and devotion that were truly the heart of our family," the family said in their statement.