Richard E. DeVos
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Retired Trustee

TERM AS TRUSTEE:
September 17, 1981 through June 1998
Appointed Honorary Trustee June 1998

BIOGRAPHY:
Richard M. DeVos was a long-time, close personal friend of Gerald and Betty Ford. He was the co-founder of Amway and also owner of the Orlando Magic National Basketball Association franchise. DeVos served as Honorary Pallbearer at Gerald R. Ford’s State Funeral. He was one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, a much in-demand inspirational and motivation speaker, a community and political leader, and, with his late wife Helen, a generous philanthropist.

In the 1970s, as chairman of the New Grand Rapids Committee, DeVos was instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids, including the DeVos Performance Hall, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, and the JW Marriott. He and his wife donated generously through the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. Richard M. DeVos served on many Boards throughout his life. He is the recipient of over 56 Awards and 15 Honorary Degrees.

Rich DeVos was the author of five books: “BELIEVE!”, “Compassionate Capitalism”, “Hope From My Heart”, “Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People”, and “Simply Rich” released in April 2014. “Simply Rich” is a memoir reflecting on his work, faith, family, and the core values he held onto from his humble, Christian upbringing through his enormous success as co-founder of Amway. His recorded talk, “Selling America,” received many awards, including the Alexander Hamilton Award for Economic Education from the Freedoms Foundation.

Richard DeVos was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was married to Helen J. Van Wesep of Grand Rapids in 1953; who passed away on October 18, 2017. He graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and attended Calvin College. He served in the United States Army Air Corp from 1944-1946. They have one daughter, and three sons, 16 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Richard M. DeVos died peacefully at his Ada, Michigan home on September 6, 2018.

GERALD R. FORD ORAL HISTORY PROJECT:
Read Oral History Interview with Rich DeVos

FOUNDATION REMARKS:
Special Ford Family Friend Award to Richard DeVos on May 6, 2013
(Presentation is at 10:18 of the video)
 

President Ford (center) is joined by Jay Van Andel (left) and Richard DeVos (right) at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in 1986. Richard and Jay were Charter Members of the Board of Trustees at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. (Photo Courtesy of P.K. Hekman, 1986)

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