In Loving Memory: Bernice Hansen

Amway pioneer and visionary distributor Bernice Hansen passed away on Thursday, Sept. 27 at the age of 101.

“Bernice Hansen and her family have been part of our team every step of the way, since the earliest days,” said Doug DeVos and Steve Van Andel when they heard the news of Bernice’s passing. “She was a remarkable bundle of energy and her lifetime accomplishments are truly awe-inspiring. We are grateful for the partnership we’ve had with her through the years and appreciate the many lives she touched. Bernice will be missed by Amway distributors all over the world, employees here in Ada and the DeVos and Van Andel families.”

Rich DeVos echoed these sentiments with his own heartfelt words, “Helen and I have fond memories of Bernice Hansen as one of Amway’s first distributors along with her late husband, Fred. They were pioneers in Amway and set a solid foundation for all those who followed. After Fred’s passing, Bernice carried on their Amway business with extraordinary enthusiasm and unwavering integrity, helping thousands of other distributors around the world find success in achieving their dreams. Bernice’s legacy will live on for future generations to come, and she will be sorely missed.”

Bernice and her husband Fred Hansen began working with Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel in 1950 and became two of Amway’s very first distributors. As one of the founders of the American Way Association (now the IBOAI), Fred, together with Bernice, played a key role in shaping the Amway business for millions of distributors.

Fred and Bernice built their business in partnership until Fred’s death in 1968, when Bernice took sole ownership. With admirable courage, Bernice continued to develop the business on her own, achieving Double Diamond in 1970, Triple Diamond in 1974 and Crown the following year.

Bernice is survived by her daughters, Karen (and Jerry) DeBlaay and Susan (and Skip) Ross, who are continuing to build on the Hansen legacy as Independent Business Owners and leaders in their own right.

For those wishing to express their condolences, the Hansen family has requested that in lieu of cards or gifts, charitable donations be made in Bernice’s honor to:

A private celebration of life reception was held Wednesday, Oct. 3 in the Amway World Headquarters auditorium.

Links to learn more:

Read more about Bernice, her determination and perseverence and her leadership:
http://www.achievemagazine.com/an-amway-pioneer-bernice-hansen.html

Watch this very special profile of Bernice:

(please be patient, as the above video may take a few moments to load)

Local media tribute:
http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2012/10/amway_co-founder_rich_devos_re_1.html

Photo Gallery:

26 Comments

  • Words seem hard to bring to my thoughts of Bernice Hansen and her family, but my heart overflows with feelings of respect and love over the more than 40 years we have been aligned with each other in the Amway business. My dad and I were there when her beloved IBO Association dedicated the bronze statue of Rich and Jay. She inspired us women at luncheon meetings. We also benefited from having sent two young teens to Susan and Skip’s leadership camp and watched them blossom since then. Amen.

  • Bernice Hanson will always in our memory!!

  • Stewart Melville

    So very sorry to hear that Bernice has passed away. Bernice was one of the first people that inspired my wife and I to build a large Amway business. She showed us that if we just reached out and helped a bunch of people develope a good income from this business then we also would have a good income. So thank you Bernice for inspiring us to build our Diamond business which we did in 1994/5

    Stewart and Carole Melville Northern Ireland

  • sledsens nys peter martine

    our condoleances to the whole family

  • We’ve loved Bernice since first meeting her in 1965. She was a grand lady in the greatest sense of the word. She’ll be missed by all.

  • She was awesome!

  • 이동윤

    몇 해 전 방문했을 때 따듯하게 잡아주신 손을 기억합니다.

    건강하실 때 한 번 더 뵙고 싶었는데 이제 다시 뵐 수 없게 되었네요.

    하늘에서 더 행복한 삶 누리시길 기도합니다.

    삼가 고인의 명복을 빕니다.

  • Nuuestro mas sentido pesame a la familia,ella fue una gran mujer y siempre la recordaremos.

  • William Irle

    I Never Met Her, But may peace be With You, You will be Remembered.

  • orlando orellana

    aunque soy nuevo en el negocio al conoser sobre personas tan entregadas a los demas
    como (Bernice Hansen) me hace amar y trabajar mas duro .gracias ( Bernice Hansen)
    viviras en nuestros corazones por siempre

  • Stéphane Masai (Belgium)

    Dear Bernice,
    I feel so poor and so rich at the same time.
    I feel sadness and happiness sharing my heart.
    Thankful and grateful for you spiritual legacy.
    Time has come for you to meet up with your beloved Husband(s),
    certainly with a best friend, Jay Van Andel too!
    I will always have you as a example in life.
    Let the sun shine in our heart, let the tears fill our thirst for love.

    Bernice, rest in peace!

    Dear Susan & skip, Marianne, Karen and family,
    accept my sincere condolences

    Stéphane

  • Andres

    You’ll be truly missed:( thank you for everything !!

  • Blanca Guerra

    Our condolences to the whole family.

  • Tom Barber family

    While we don’t know each other personally, we have been aware of your family since the late 80s. We want to extend a sincere hand of condolance, and thanks to all the descendants of Fred and Bernice. It is because of the choices they made, that We have the opportunity to improve the future of our decendants.
    We look forward to meeting the entire Hansen family, in the future, and hope that this note will provide some encourage to continue your parents/grandparents legacy. During this time of grief, know that their lives have done that for us.

    Thanks Bernice and Fred. I especially look forward to meeting you two.

    God bless

  • chariclia savva

    Our condolences to the whole family, from northern greece…

  • she was with amway @ the benning with jay & rich, may she r.i.p.Be happy and influence others, not by your success, but by the attitude in which you persue it.

  • What an incredible woman! Another Amway Angel has taken flight leaving our presence but never the hearts and minds of those who loved her, were lifted by her words, or encouraged by her example to keep moving til you soar with the eagles. What a wonderful legacy she’s left to us all. May The Lord send HIS Comforter to lift the hearts of the Hansen Family as well as the numerous Amway Families whose lives were touched by this great Lady. Let peace and joy overtake sorrow as you reflect on a life well lived!

    Sincerely,
    Stephen L. & DJ Martin
    and Family*

  • melida y herasmo mejia

    nuestro mas sentido pesame a la familia de berenice y nuestra familia de amway por tan grande perdida (R.I.P.)

  • Bill Wallace

    I never met Bernice but I knew of her leadership since the 1970s when I first joined Amway. She was always listed among the Board of Directors. After years about not hearing about her I was searching tonight in the Amway website when I stumbled on the news of her passing and marveled that she matched Irving Berlin’s age. Watching her video brought to me memories of what I often enjoyed through the years–the friendships it was so easy to make in this business. Nutrilite and God’s providence kept her well through the years and now she is enjoying eternity. Amen. Condolences to all who miss her.

  • For 62 years, Bernice was a role model for millions of IBOs around the globe!
    For my mother (since 1981), my sister (since 1993) my brother in law (since 1992) and me (since 1989 in the business), we always were happy to be in Ada at the Fred Hansen Corp. HQ just across the street to the AMWAY HQ. And all the times we found Bernice and parts of the Hansen Family getting our Products and having some nice words for our downlines and us. Thank you so much Bernice

    Patrick van Gelderen, Diamond IBO, Switzerland

  • Olga patino

    I never met Bernice. But I knew of her leadership. I am very proud of her and she always live in our hearts. We always love you.

  • There really are no words that haven”t already been said about this amazing women who has impacted and changed so many thousands of lives around the world. Roger and I were so blessed to have met Bernice at an Amway event early in our career in this incredible business. One of the most amazing things I remember about Bernice was that incredible life giving smile that she always gave you when you said hello to her. She was always so encouraging everytime we had an opportunity to absorb her presence. She had such a genuine spirit and when she smiled and said how proud she was of us or “you kids have a great opportunity in your hands” we were always reassured that we were right on track.. Bernice is someone that we respected so much. We will miss that beautiful smile and sparkle in her eyes. Thank You, Bernice

  • Beverly Sallee Ophoff

    My first goal at Diamond was to meet the famous Bernice Hansen. I introduced myself and asked her now that she was a Crown what did she do with her time. She looked surprised and quickly answered, “Well, I sell and sponsor, what do you do?” That began a friendship that has lasted many years. We shared many good times and travels together.
    I was honored to be on her family board for the last fifteen years. My love and prayers for the whole family. May her legacy be carried on by those who loved and admired her all over the world.

  • L.K. Darr

    God bless Mrs. Hanson, her memory and her spirit. Remembering fondly her inspirational speeches that I heard over the years with the Halsey organization. May God continue to bless her legacy.

  • Tim & Bev Held

    Dear Hansen Family,

    Our sincere sympathy to you. We will always remember when we went to our Platinum trip to Ada MI & Bernice was there to meet & congratulate all of us. It was very special to hear her upbeat positive words of wisdom.
    Treasure the great memories. She will always be our hero.

    Prayers & Thoughts, Tim & Bev Held,
    North Dakota

  • I first heard Bernice on a tape I picked up at a garage sale 25 years ago. I found her so inspiring that I kept that tape in a special collection. She was so relatable and spoke with such conviction and had so much wisdom that her talk left an impression on me. What a fine example of a woman and a leader. She will not be forgotten.

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