Billionaire Amway Co-founder, Philanthropist Richard DeVos Dies at 92

by Kristin Harlow

ADA, MICH. — Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway, died on Thursday, Sept. 6 at the age of 92. The cause of death was complications from an infection. The Michigan native was known as a pioneer of the Amway direct selling method, which offered individuals the opportunity to build businesses of their own. He was also an inspirational speaker and philanthropist. In 2017, Forbes estimated his wealth at $5.6 billion.

DeVos and his family played an instrumental role in the redevelopment of the downtown area of Grand Rapids. The Amway Hotel Corp. is the largest hotelier in Grand Rapids encompassing the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the J.W. Marriott hotel and the Courtyard by Marriott hotel. The DeVos Place convention center opened in 2004 along the Grand River downtown. The Richard DeVos Center is the flagship building on the Grand Rapids campus of Grand Valley State University.

DeVos was also owner of the Orlando Magic NBA franchise. His entrepreneurial spirit began in high school with his classmate, Jay Van Andel. The duo eventually founded Amway in Ada, Mich. in 1959. Over five decades, they built their business into a multi-billion dollar international corporation and the leading direct sales company. Van Andel died in December 2004.

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