Richard DeVos, Amway co-founder and Orlando Magic owner, dead at 92

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2010, file photo, Richard DeVos, Orlando Magic owner and Amway Inc. co-founder, smiles after welcoming fans to the new Amway Center before a preseason NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in Orlando, Fla. DeVos,

Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway and owner of NBA franchise the Orlando Magic, died Thursday at the age of 92.

DeVos grew up during the Great Depression in Michigan, and met his future business partner, Jay Van Andel, in high school. Both men attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and later served in the U.S. military during World War II.

After leaving the service, the pair tested the entrepreneurial waters with a flight school and a drive-in diner. Then, following a near-$50 investment, the duo became successful distributors for Nutrilite. They took the approach of direct selling and founded Amway in 1959. Decades later, the once-small business grew internationally with annual sales of more than $8 billion, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan native never lost his roots, and invested millions back into Grand Rapids: He was the lead donor for the city’s convention center – as well as multiple schools across the state.