Helen DeVos dies at 90 years old

Posted at 1:44 AM, Oct 19, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP/FOX 17) — Helen J. DeVos, a philanthropist from western Michigan known for her support of children's health, Christian education and the arts, has died at age 90.

Her family says in a statement that she died Wednesday of complications from a stroke following a recent diagnosis of myeloid leukemia.

DeVos was the wife of Rich DeVos, who co-founded direct-sales company Amway and owns the Orlando Magic. He says she was "a wonderful wife and the heart of our family."

She was also the mother-in-law of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Photo from Spectrum Health Foundation

Helen DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, and the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is named after her.

An Amway spokeswoman says in an email Helen DeVos died in the Grand Rapids-area community of Ada Township and funeral arrangements were pending.

The family released a statement Thursday morning:

We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Helen DeVos, passed away on October 18, 2017 at the age of 90.

While we grieve her passing, we rejoice in her new life in heaven and are grateful for the countless ways she blessed our lives. We are comforted in knowing that she was welcomed home into the loving arms of Jesus.

We will never forget her unfailing love, strength and devotion that were truly the heart of our family.

Rich, Dick, Dan, Cheri, Doug and families

Grandson Rick DeVos has tweeted tributes.

Helen Devos image tweeted by grandson Rick DeVos.