Current Amway co-chief executive officer Steve Van Andel called Helen DeVos "Auntie Helen" because as a kid he considered her his second mother.
Van Andel remembered the life of Helen DeVos today after she died yesterday at the age of 90. Her family says in a statement that she died Wednesday of complications from a stroke following a recent diagnosis of myeloid leukemia.
The Van Andel family lived next to the DeVos family when Van Andel was a youngster.
"We grew up next to each other and for me she was always mother number two," Van Andel said. "We'd all go play football and we'd all get really dirty and it didn't matter how dirty we got, Auntie Helen would invite us in for a snack."
Amway was established by Rich and Helen DeVos along with Jay and Betty Van Andel, Steve Van Andel's parents. Both Jay and Betty Van Andel died in 2004
Van Andel gives Helen DeVos credit for helping her husband Rich to develop relationships to get the company going in the 1960's telling us how she helped to communicate the company's interests to prospective distributors who sold the products.
But her legacy at Amway and with the Van Andel family is how she comforted all during difficult times.
"The great thing for me is she has been that way for me my entire life so she has been supportive all along," Van Andel said. "For me (she) was a strength that was always there and a support that was always there my entire life. You didn't always expect it but all of a sudden you would get a little arm around you and she would say it's going to be ok."
To learn more about Helen DeVos and the work she accomplished throughout her life, visit www.helenedevos.com.