- About Us
Eileen J. DeVriesAugust 24, 1950 ~ May 16, 2017 (age 66)
Eileen DeVries was well known locally and nationally for her over 40 year career as a top advisor at Merrill Lynch, and has passed away on May 16th due to complications from cancer. Eileen was born in Thorp, Wisconsin as the youngest to Martha and Chris Price in 1950 and grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. She attended Mayo High School, and went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Boston University. She was one of the first successful females in the investment industry and had a passion for what she did. She started at Merrill Lynch in 1976 after taking an interview intended for her husband (he had found a job) because women were only getting interviews as support staff, not as stockbrokers. She was one of the first to start a team approach for servicing her clients, and was known to say that as a working woman, "you could have it all, you just couldn’t do it all” and to “give up guilt- that way you have a lot more time to get things done”.
Outside of her career, she was a pioneer for women's golf rights and fought for equality at all golf clubs, courses and beyond. In 1992, she brought state legislation through that prohibited clubs from discriminating against women for prime tee times on weekends. The excuse was that "men worked during the week” so they should have the weekend priority, and that surely was not going to be the message that she wanted her kids and future generations to have.
Eileen was a passionate and creative gardener, and loved spending time in her gardens. She integrated her love of travel with gardening, and visited countries all over the world to see unique orchids in the wild, explore different ways to plan perennial beds, and would often be known to grab a few unique seed pods and shove them in her pocket to plant back at home. Her love of orchids was validated when a new hybrid of orchid was named the “Eileen DeVries Vanda”.
Eileen was also on numerous non-profit boards, including Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Davenport University, Pine Rest, Athena International, Junior Achievement and Grand Rapids Public Museum. She was recognized as one of the Barron's Magazine Top Female Financial Advisors in the United States, won the Athena Award from the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce in 2005, was one of the featured business leaders in Don Maine’s book “Maine Street”, and was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. She also added her personal flair to chairing charity events including the American Cancer Society's Lumber Barons Ball where she dressed up as Dolly Parton, and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Great Gardens Party with her many ideas for stirring up the fun.
Having overcome West Nile Virus, Eileen lived an active and involved life in Grand Rapids and Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. She was an avid golfer and loved fishing. She had a personal golfing swear word that would peel the paint off a car, and loved being on the course with friends and family. She loved fishing in Florida and was known to buy all the fishing charters at charity events to try something different- from sail fishing to deep dropping to the flats, she loved it all. She caught thousands of fish over her lifetime, but was ecstatic when she fought and caught a huge Tarpon earlier this spring. She also loved blue gill fishing at home on Fisk Lake, and was known to get a fillet off of even the smallest fish to make a snack.
Even when she was diagnosed with cancer, she kept living. In just the time she was undergoing treatment, she visited six countries, attended Burning Man, golfed or fished nearly every day, worked on her majong skills, and went to every party with friends and event she could. When talking about her diagnosis, she would tell people that she "just wasn’t ready to leave the party yet”.
Eileen is survived by her 5 children, Dana & Lisa DeVries (Holland, MI), Rebecca Trump (Harrisburg, PA), Rachel & Mike Mraz (Grand Rapids), Joe DeVries (San Francisco, CA) and Sam DeVries (Grand Rapids), her brothers Ray Price (Rochester, MN), Jerry & Mary Price (Rochester, MN) and sister Rosalie Price (Chicago, IL), her three Grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and innumerable friends.
A party for family, friends and fellow community members is being planned.