Christian Philanthropist and Magic Owner, Richard DeVos, Passed Away at 92

  • Kayla Koslosky Former Editor
  • Updated Sep 10, 2018
Christian Philanthropist and Magic Owner, Richard DeVos, Passed Away at 92

Christian philanthropist, Magic basketball team owner, and billionaire Richard DeVos passed away on Thursday at the age of 92.

According to the Oakland Press, DeVos, died at home in Ada, Michigan, following complications from an infection. 

The deceased’s grandson Rick DeVos took to Twitter to update DeVos’s followers in a series of tweets saying, "Early this morning our family's patriarch, Richard DeVos Sr. went home to join his dear wife Helen with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These next days will be full of great joy and sadness as our family celebrates a life truly well lived and mourns the coming days without him."

Rick DeVos continued, "We celebrate Grandma & Grandpa's incredible legacy of creation & generosity as a generational chapter closes. The next generation has already taken up their standard, and another follows close behind. It is an unbelievable honor to carry the name Richard Marvin DeVos III.”

He added, "I pray that we may all continue to build on the foundations they have put down for us and I give thanks for the gift of many years — far more than we expected — with an incredible man and Grandpa.” 

He concluded the statement saying, “Anyone who spent any amount of time — as little as a few seconds — with Grandpa knows that he truly, deeply loved people. He was interested in them, in learning what they were thinking and doing. And he was a relentless encourager."  

DeVos was born on March 4, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He studied at Calvin College and then went on to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. The successful businessman co-founded direct selling company Amway in 1959 and bought the NBA Orlando Magic franchise in 1991.

Magic CEO Alex Martins said in a statement, "Mr. DeVos' boundless generosity, inspirational leadership and infectious enthusiasm will always be remembered.” 

He spoke highly of DeVos saying, "Simply, he was the team's No. 1 cheerleader and the best owner that a Magic fan could ever want for their team. When the DeVos family purchased Magic, his vision was that the team and organization would serve as a platform to improve the central Florida community."

DeVos and his late wife, Helen, donated to Christian churches and ministries through their foundation.  According to The Christian Post, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation made major contributions to evangelical organizations including Focus on the Family and Family Research Council.

In 2009 The Grand Rapids Press reported that one of DeVos’s main ambitions in life was to “bring the long-separated Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church in America back together.”

DeVos said at the time that the split debilitated each church's ability to be a "witness for Christ."  

The businessman is survived by five children, two sisters, and several grandchildren. His funeral services will be held on Sept. 13, at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Erik-Jan Leusink