ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In the lobby of Amway World Headquarters in Ada Thursday, a large photo of founder Rich DeVos filled an electronic screen.
“Rich DeVos always signed letters with the phrase, ‘Love Ya, Rich,” the sign read.
And he meant it, Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel said.
“He meant it with everybody he talked to,” Van Andel told 24 Hour news 8. “The kindness that he had, the generosity that he had, but he also said that because he loved people.”
DeVos died Thursday morning at the age of 92 of complications from an infection.
“It’s a tough one for me,” Van Andel, the son of Amway co-founder and DeVos’ lifelong friend Jay Van Andel, said. “(DeVos was) a friend for sure, he’s been a mentor in the business, but he’s also my second dad. A lot of people don’t know the two families grew up next to each other, so if for some reason or another we were bored at our house, we went next door.”
DeVos retired from Amway in 1993, but never stopped helping move it forward.
“He never quit being a motivator of the business,” Steve Van Andel said. “If he walked into a room, everyone smiled. If he walks into a room, everyone all of a sudden gets optimistic … and wanting to listen to his experience.”
Van Andel, who joined the company in the 1980s, said he learned a lot from DeVos about faith, family and business and how the three could be intertwined.
“He said, ‘You know, in our business we’ve got a lot of families. We’ve got employees here that have great families. We’ve got business owners that have great families.’ And he said that’s really what the business is about,” Van Andel said. “It’s about people, so he said, ‘I come out here to be with them, to help them, to answer questions and to cheer them on a little bit.’ And that’s what Rich did. He was a spectacular giver of himself to people and he knew that that’s what not only drives the business, but I think drives the world.”
The flags in front of Amway headquarters will remain at half-staff in DeVos’ honor until Saturday.
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