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"LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST"
While his style is low-key, Rich DeVos is passionate in his dedication to many causes. This summer, he completed his work as a member of President Regan's AIDS Commission. He is very politically active, and at the time of our interview, had just returned from the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, where he was a Michigan delegate. He lives out each of his roles with the same degree of passion as he has his 29 years as president of Amway Corporation, the Ada, Michigan-based direct sales giant.
From the beginning, Rich DeVos was an industrious, involved business leader. A typical "type-A" personality, stress and impatience accompanied his drive to succeed. His wife, Helen, was aware of the statistics indicating heart attacks are a threat for "driven" personalities who are extremely time-sensitive. She was also aware that Rich's father, Simon C. DeVos, had suffered several heart attacks before his premature death at age 59. She urged Rich to slow down, to relax.
Rich agreed that he should slow down ... at least a little. The Amway business was successful, and now operated in several countries besides the United States and Canada. The family's material needs were fulfilled. The four DeVos children were either involved in the business or in school preparing for their eventual "second generation" presence at Amway. But Rich wasn't really serious about his plans to slow down; he still maintained a breakneck pace in his life. He needed a "warning" to make him realize that he had to devote more attention to his health. One day in 1980 he suffered some unsteadiness and "listed" to the left when he walked. He checked in with his doctor and was placed in the hospital for tests. Stress test results and a significantly elevated serum cholesterol level indicated …