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In Memoriam: Helen DeVos (1927–2017)

Longtime ISI friend and supporter Helen DeVos died on Wednesday. All of us at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute are mourning her loss.

To call Helen a friend of ISI is a dramatic understatement. For more than three decades, she and her husband, Amway cofounder Richard DeVos, provided ISI with unflagging support and encouragement. Through their wise counsel and generous philanthropy, Rich and Helen have helped ISI educate and develop exceptional, principled leaders in every corner of American life. ISI president Charlie Copeland says simply, “ISI’s Richard and Helen DeVos Freedom Center is the engine that drives our work with outstanding college students.”

Last October, ISI presented Helen and Rich with the Charles H. Hoeflich Lifetime Achievement Award. The award marked but a small token of ISI’s regard for two of America’s most generous philanthropists and dedicated defenders of liberty. 

Charlie Copeland remembers, “It was such a pleasure spending time with Helen last October at ISI’s Dinner for Western Civilization. She was in high spirits that evening. It was a delight to be in her company and to see the joy she took in being with family and friends.”

In a sense, the DeVos family and ISI got their start together: Rich and Helen married in 1953, the year ISI was founded. Three generations of the DeVos family have now been actively involved with ISI.

Helen was a generous patron of music, arts, health, education, and other causes. The Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and the Helen DeVos College of Education at Lee University in Tennessee both reflect her generosity and philanthropic spirit. Please take a moment to read this remembrance of Helen, which captures what a remarkable life she lived and the extraordinary impact she has had.

Requiescat in pace.


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