Helen DeVos, a philanthropist from western Michigan known for her support of children’s health, Christian education and the arts, died Oct. 18 in Ada Township, Mich. She was 90.
The cause was complications from a stroke following a recent diagnosis of myeloid leukemia, her family said.
Mrs. DeVos was married to Richard DeVos, who co-founded direct-sales company Amway and owns the Orlando Magic, and she was the mother-in-law of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Helen Van Wesep was born in Grand Rapids on Feb. 24, 1927, and her parents were schoolteachers. She attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids and worked briefly as a substitute teacher before marrying in 1953. She volunteered her time and leadership to an array of causes, including Christian churches and ministries.
Mrs. DeVos and her husband, who started the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, supported Grand Rapids Christian schools, including the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand Rapids Christian High School, and numerous colleges and universities. The DeVos family also is known for its political donations, including to Republican presidential candidates.
Mrs. DeVos was a prominent supporter of the Grand Rapids Symphony and was a board member and officer from 1971 to 1990. She and her husband provided the funding to help the Grand Rapids Symphony make its first commercial recording of works commissioned by the symphony.
She had four children, one of whom, Richard DeVos Jr., ran for governor of Michigan in 2006 but was defeated by the incumbent Jennifer Granholm (D). Richard Jr. married Betsy Prince, who serves as President Trump’s education secretary.
Read more Washington Post obituaries