Betty Van Andel, wife of Amway founder, dies

Associated Press/January 18, 2004

Grand Rapids, Mich. -- Betty Van Andel, the wife of Amway Corp. co-founder Jay Van Andel, died Sunday. She was 82.

Van Andel was at her family home on Peter Island in the Caribbean when she died. Van Andel had Alzheimer's disease and had been in declining health for some time, her family said.

"Betty was an inspiration to everyone she met," Amway co-founder Rich DeVos said in a news release. "She was a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother whose compassion enriched many lives."

Through the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation, the couple contributed to charities, hospitals, schools and other institutions. Its beneficiaries include the Van Andel Institute, a medical and scientific research organization.

Van Andel was an honorary chairwoman of Opera Grand Rapids. She also was a president of the Eagle Forum of Michigan and served on the boards of St. Cecilia Music Society and Pine Rest Christian Hospital.

Born Betty Hoekstra in Grand Rapids in 1921, she graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and Calvin College. She married Jay Van Andel in 1952.

She is survived by her husband, sons Steve and Dave, daughters Nan Van Andel and Barb Van Andel-Gaby, sister Florence Vanderveen and ten grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Sunday night.

Founded in 1959, the direct sales company Amway now is a subsidiary of Ada-based Alticor Inc. Alticor reported sales of $4.9 billion in its latest fiscal year.

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