GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Several organizations and dignitaries are expressing their condolences regarding the passing of Helen DeVos Thursday.
DeVos died Thursday morning at the age of 90. She was the wife of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos and a major philanthropist in West Michigan.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette:
“Cynthia and I extend our deepest sympathies to Rich DeVos and the entire DeVos family. Helen was a tremendous example of compassion, philanthropy and commitment to family. We will keep her and the entire DeVos family in our prayers.”
Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley:
Gov. Rick Snyder: “Michigan has lost a great advocate and philanthropist with the passing of Helen DeVos. Her steadfast commitment to helping others can be seen every day in many ways, but particularly as families are cared for during some of their most challenging times at the HelenDeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Our state is a better place because of Helen and the tremendous work she accomplished. Sue and I send our most heartfelt condolences to the DeVosfamily on behalf of all Michiganders.”
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley: “Helen DeVos lived a life of extraordinary impact. I can think of no better example of faithfulness in action - faithfulness to country, to the community she loved so much, to family who will carry that legacy forward, and especially to God, whose presence she is in today.”
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash:
Helen DeVos dedicated her life to God, her family, and our community. Kindness and generosity are her legacy. May her memory be eternal.
Grand Rapids Public Schools:
"On behalf of the Grand Rapids Board of Education and the entire GRPS family, I want to extend our thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Helen DeVos. We have all been blessed by Mrs. DeVos' generosity to this community. Her legacy and treasures will continue to benefit our community for generations to come. This is particularly true for GRPS, her longtime support of the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, and the sustainability efforts that she and Mr. DeVos supported to create healthy, environmental friendly educational environments for our students and teachers."
Richard C. Breon, President & CEO, Spectrum Health, released the following statement about the passing of Helen DeVos.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of Helen DeVos’ passing, and we extend our deepest sympathies to Rich and all of Helen’s family and friends.
The legacy of Helen June Van Wesep DeVos will live on forever in the hearts and minds of the many people whose lives she touched. Her legacy will continue to have a lasting influence on the mission and vision of Spectrum Health, where her generosity helped to establish numerous programs and services.
Helen and Rich were instrumental in building Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and they made a major commitment to underwrite the child life program at the hospital. They also provided support for Meijer Heart Center, the Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program, the Richard McNamara Cardiovascular Fellowship Program and Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion.
Helen DeVos, a woman we knew and loved, will be remembered as someone who believed in and encouraged us to be our best. While we mourn her passing, we celebrate and give thanks for her life and legacy of giving that had such profound impact on our community.”
Grand Valley State University:
The Grand Valley State University community is mourning the death of Helen DeVos, one of the university’s most steadfast supporters. The wife of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos died October 18, at age 90.
“Helen had a deep passion for the transformative power of education,” said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas. “As a lifelong learner, she was a tremendous role model for our students and everyone she knew. We will miss her kind and generous support and guidance over the years, as well as her friendship. Our hearts go out to Rich and the entire DeVos family.”
Statement about Helen DeVos from Calvin College President Michael Le Roy:
Helen’s legacy lives on in the many students, faculty and staff she has inspired with her love for Christ and her generosity to Calvin College over several decades. Helen has always had a deep love for Calvin students. She has demonstrated her commitment to young people at her alma mater time and time again, from creating spaces for students to study and gather, to supporting numerous scholarships, to providing opportunities to study off-campus and overseas. Helen has also shown dedication to our faculty by contributing to their research and scholarship and supporting centers and institutes. She and Rich have made a significant contribution to the west Michigan community, and we are grateful for their longtime support of their alma mater. Helen’s family will be in our prayers as they mourn her loss and celebrate her life.
Grand Rapids Symphony:
“The Grand Rapids Symphony has lost a dear friend, and the entire arts and cultural community of West Michigan has lost one of its greatest champions and supporters,” said Peter Perez, president and CEO.
“Helen was a lifelong lover of music, and she believed the great community of Grand Rapids needed and deserved a great orchestra,” Perez said. “Her inspiration and support made it possible for a fine community orchestra to grow into a world-class professional ensemble and the second largest performing arts organization in Michigan.”
“It’s safe to say that without Helen DeVos, the Grand Rapids Symphony would not be the organization we know today,” Perez said.
“For years, her influence and inspiration have been present in every performance the Grand Rapids Symphony has given. Her loss is incalculable, but her legacy will live on in the music we continue to make,” Perez said.
St. Cecilia Music Center:
All of us at St. Cecilia Music Center are saddened to learn of the passing of Helen DeVos. Mrs. DeVos was a champion of music and the cultural life of Grand Rapids and she did so much to further the efforts of important cultural institutions, including St. Cecilia Music Center. Helen DeVos served on the St. Cecilia Music Center board and also served as President of the Board. She truly made a lasting impact on our organization. The support that St. Cecilia Music Center has received from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation for decades has made us the vibrant organization we are today. We are truly grateful for all she has done for our organization and for so many others. We extend our deepest condolences to the DeVos family and to all who were touched by Mrs. DeVos’s generous spirit and passionate commitment to our community.
Grand Rapids Drive: