Betty Van Andel (1921 – 2004) was the beloved wife of Jay Van Andel and the co-founder of Van Andel Institute. In the years after Amway was founded by her husband and Rich DeVos in 1959, Mrs. Van Andel was an optimistic and unwavering supporter as the company grew from a small business to an international corporation. In later years, through the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation, Mrs. Van Andel and her husband contributed to the work of charities, hospitals, schools and other worthwhile institutions, including Van Andel Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science.
Mrs. Van Andel’s dedication to her hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan was exemplified by her many civic achievements as honorary chair of Opera Grand Rapids. She helped spearhead the effort to bring opera into the local limelight. She served on the boards of St. Cecelia Music Society and Pine Rest Christian Hospital and was treasurer of the League of Women Voters.
She was also president of the LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church Service Guild and was honorary chair of the Christian Schools International Foundation.
Mrs. Van Andel was a member of the National Federation of Republican Women, The Gerald R. Ford Republican Women’s Club and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She was listed in the world’s Who’s Who of Women and the National Social Directory.
Born Betty Hoekstra on December 14, 1921, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School and earned a degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She was an elementary school teacher for many years in Grand Rapids.
For many years she enjoyed participating in the generous philanthropic grants of the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation. She had her own special charities and causes which even today still benefit from the Foundation’s generosity.
In the early days of discussing plans for Van Andel Institute, Mrs. Van Andel was intent on having the Education Institute be part of Van Andel Institute.
Shortly after, Mrs. Van Andel began her long struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease that finally took her life.