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Family, Michigan officials react to the death of Richard DeVos

Posted at 12:19 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 16:38:42-04

ADA, Mich. -- Richard Devos' family as well as officials and organizations in Michigan are releasing statements about the legacy of the billionaire Amway co-founder after he died Thursday morning at the age of 92.

Rick DeVos, his grandson, posted a series of messages on Twitter Thursday morning, saying DeVos was "larger than life and driven to build and create."

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said in a statement posted to Facebook that DeVos' "belief in Grand Rapids, our people and our potential were infectious."

"Rich DeVos literally changed the landscape and future of our city for the better," she said.

Grand Valley State University released a statement Thursday calling DeVos a "generous supporter" and "one of the university's greatest leaders."

"Rich gave so much of himself to Grand Valley. His enthusiasm and vision were contagious, and drew the entire community together to help provide a world-class education to West Michigan citizens," GVSU President Thomas J. Haas said in a release.

DeVos, along with Jay Van Andel, founded Amway in 1959 in the basements of their homes in Ada.

"Rich and my father built this company from the ground up, and in many ways Rich was the heart and soul of Amway," Steve Van Andel, Amway's chair, said. "His vision and spirit inspired our employees and independent business owners for more than 50 years."

A number of Republican officials, including Gov. Rick Snyder, also released statements on DeVos' passing. DeVos was a major supporter of the Republican party.

Gov. Rick Snyder said DeVos' "giving spirit is how we will always remember him, and his legacy is certain to live on forever."

Lt. Gov Brian Calley called DeVos "a pillar" in the West Michigan community.

"His vision, intellect, compassion and mentorship will be missed immensely," a statement from Calley reads.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) says DeVos was "positive, kind, and generous, and he embodied the American spirit."

Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Grandville) said Thursday afternoon that it's hard to imagine what West Michigan would look like without DeVos.

"Through his philanthropic activities, Rich led by example, created new opportunities for countless West Michigan residents, and strived to make our community an even greater place to call home," a statement from Huizenga reads.

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland) said DeVos "lived the American Dream," and "leaves behind an incredible legacy."

We'll update this story with additional statements throughout the day