By John Denton Oct. 19, 2017
ORLANDO – Helen DeVos, wife of Amway co-founder and legendary Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos and a difference-making philanthropist in both Michigan and Florida, died on Wednesday night. She was 90 years old.
Helen died following complications from a stroke. She was recently diagnosed with having myeloid leukemia.
Rich DeVos, 91, has been the Senior Chairman of the Magic’s ownership group for the past 27 years. The ownership of the Magic is a family affair as the DeVos’ four children (Dick, Dan, Cheri and Doug) are heavily involved in the direction of the franchise. Dan DeVos serves as the Magic’s Chairman/Governor.
Helen DeVos also leaves behind husband, Rich, the four children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Rich and Helen DeVos have been married since 1953.
On Wednesday night, the DeVos family released a statement about Helen’s passing.
``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,’’ the DeVos family said in a statement released early Thursday. ``We will never forget her unfailing love, strength and devotion that were truly the heart of our family.’’
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Calvin College – Van Wesep Scholarship Fund, Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Helen DeVos’ Children Hospital, LaGrave Avenue Reformed Church or The King’s College.
Helen leaves behind a legacy of giving her time and millions of dollars to countless charities and organizations throughout Michigan and Central Florida via the Rich and Helen DeVos Foundation, including $9 million to the University of Central Florida to help found the DeVos Sports Business Management Program.
“Mrs. DeVos was the heartbeat of the DeVos Family. She volunteered her time and leadership to numerous causes and joined her husband as the team’s top cheerleader," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "Her legacy will certainly live on in both the Orlando Magic's community efforts and philanthropic contributions, as well as in the way we strive to play the game with passion, integrity, while also bringing people together from all walks of life."
Her name is most recognizable for adorning the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., which opened in 2011. Also, the Magic have given out the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award for years to the player who most embodies the family’s giving spirit and makes a difference in the community.
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