“Helen DeVos, the wife of Orlando Magic owner and Amway co-founder Rich DeVos, was known for her philanthropic efforts to the arts and passion for Christian education. However, her first love was her family, those who knew her said.”
The Orlando Sentinel noted in its article, “Helen DeVos, wife of Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, dies at age 90,” that DeVos died in October at age 90 in her native Grand Rapids, Mich., after a stroke, according to her family. She was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
She was described as the heart of the DeVos family and of the Magic organization,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins. “She’s best known in Grand Rapids for being an incredible philanthropist, and I think that’s what she’s conveyed to us as an organization through 27 years.”
While much of Helen’s charitable work was in western Michigan, she and Rich DeVos also made a large impact in Central Florida. They founded the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program with a $2.5 million donation in 2000. They later gave another $6.5 million.
The family also donated $1 million to aid in the recovery efforts after several hurricanes and opened the RDV sports complex.
At Helen’s urging, the Orlando basketball team created the annual Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award to honor the Magic player who makes the most significant impact through community service work. The winning player receives $50,000 to donate to the charity or charities of his choice.
DeVos is survived by her husband, along with four children and their spouses, Dick and Betsy, Dan and Pamella, Cheri, and Doug and Maria, and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
One of Rich and Helen DeVos’ daughters-in-law is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was appointed to the Cabinet by President Trump.
In recent years, the DeVos family restructured its Magic ownership group through estate planning. The children of Rich and Helen DeVos now own the largest percentage of the franchise, although ownership also extends into other generations of the family.
Reference: Orlando Sentinel (October 19, 2017) “Helen DeVos, wife of Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, dies at age 90”