Hundreds bid farewell to Helen DeVos

Grand Rapids philanthropist died last week at the age of 90

(Courtesy: Grand Valley State University)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of people attended a reception Tuesday to honor late West Michigan philanthropist Helen DeVos.

DeVos, the wife of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos and namesake of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, died last week of complications following a recent stroke. She was 90.

Helen DeVos
A photo of Helen DeVos, taken by her grandson, Rick DeVos earlier in October 2017.

Well over 600 people filed into the Ambassador Ballroom at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel downtown Tuesday to express condolences to DeVos’ family. Her son, Dick DeVos, a former Amway CEO and gubernatorial candidate and husband of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, greeted attendees.

Photo: A program for Helen DeVos’ Oct. 24, 2017 memorial service.

A private memorial service was held earlier Tuesday. Longtime family friend Sam Rehnborg described one of the more moving stories from the service as the pastor described Rich DeVos’ last moments with his wife.

“It was a beautiful story about him going in and praying her right into heaven and Dick coming in and saying, ‘She’s… she’s in heaven.'”

Helen DeVos was laid to rest in the family’s Memorial Gardens in Ada over the weekend.