Tributes continue to pour in for Rich DeVos, the Amway co-founder and direct selling legend who died last Thursday at the age of 92.
The U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) issued a statement on his passing of DeVos, who was a DSA Hall of Fame Member, DSEF Circle of Honor Recipient and former DSA and DSEF Board Chairman: “Rich is a direct selling giant, and his influence on direct selling has been felt for decades and will be realized for years to come. . . . He served as a standard-bearer of integrity, a steward to his business, employees and all of direct selling. . . . Throughout the years, Rich served as a mentor and friend to countless direct selling executives and his larger-than-life presence will be sorely missed, and we remember him by his inspirational words.”
DeVos co-founded Amway in 1959 with his good friend Jay Van Andel, whom he had met in high school. The two men shared a similar goal and ambition: to achieve more out of life for themselves, their families and their friends. Today, with a rich history of entrepreneurship and helping others succeed, Amway is the No. 1 direct selling company in the world.
“We can continue to move forward using what we have learned from him and the example he gave us all with the way he lived his life,” said Doug DeVos, Rich’s son and the current president of Amway. “He didn’t just say it, he lived it too! He enriched our lives in so many ways and has challenged us to positively enrich the lives of others.”
DeVos and his wife, Helen, who passed away last year, were passionately involved in philanthropy in their hometown. Through the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, they typically granted more than $50 million a year to hundreds of charities. Their generosity helped create many institutions, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the DeVos Communications Center at Calvin College, the DeVos Campus of Grand Valley State University and the DeVos Place Convention Center and Concert Hall. In 2016, the DeVos family gave $111 million in total to charities, which earned them a spot-on Forbes‘ list of top givers. The DeVoses passed their generosity on to their children, whose charitable donations continue to help improve life in West Michigan, advance Christian causes, and support patriotism and medical research.
DeVos was also a passionate contributor to the Republican Party. Former U.S. President George W. Bush said in a statement that DeVos was both a great entrepreneur and a “great American.”
“He used his business to empower others and advance the universal values of freedom, opportunity, compassion and personal responsibility,” said Bush. “Rich made his country and his community better, and he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I know his family will miss him dearly. Laura and I send all the DeVoses our sincere sympathies, and we hope they take comfort in knowing that Rich and Helen are united again.”
Alex Martins, CEO of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, says he will remember the boundless generosity, inspirational leadership and infectious enthusiasm of DeVos, who bought the franchise in 1991. “Simply, he was the team’s No. 1 cheerleader and the best owner that a Magic fan could ever want for their team,” said Martins. “When the DeVos family purchased the Magic, his vision was that the team and organization would serve as a platform to improve the central Florida community.”