H&R Block announces passing of co-founder, Henry W. Bloch
KANSAS CITY, Mo.,
With strong personal values and a commitment to clients, Bloch helped guide the growth of the small family business from a single storefront on
Bloch retired as the company’s chief executive officer in 1992 and as chairman of the board of directors in 2000. In 1989, he became chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer. He served as president of H&R Block from 1962 until 1988, adding the title of chief executive officer in 1974.
Although retired, Bloch worked daily on his many philanthropic endeavors in Kansas City, including the
“Through his honesty and integrity, Henry embodied the best of American business, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In so many ways, he was ahead of his time and a model for today’s entrepreneur,” said Jeff Jones, president and chief executive officer of
A life of achievement
Bloch, the second son of a prominent Kansas City lawyer, attended
He joined the
After the war in 1945, Bloch and his brother, Leon, founded
Tax preparation was a complementary service offered by the two brothers to their small business clients. But in 1955, the brothers decided to eliminate the tax service and focus on their bookkeeping business. One client – an advertising representative with The
The response to the advertisements was immediate and overwhelming, because the Internal Revenue Service had just started phasing out its practice of preparing tax returns free-of-charge to taxpayers in Kansas City, with plans to eliminate the free service across the country. Later that year, Henry and Richard Bloch founded H&R Block, changing the spelling of their last name to make it easier to pronounce and spell.
In 1956, the IRS discontinued free tax preparation in New York City, and the brothers pursued this opportunity by opening six offices there, along with two additional offices in Kansas City. The company generated more than
The company rapidly expanded, aided by the concept of franchising H&R Block tax offices. In 1962, H&R Block became a public company, with an initial public offering of 75,000 shares at
A life of giving
In addition to building a successful business, Bloch was committed to building stronger communities through education, healthcare and the arts. This was especially evident in his hometown of Kansas City.
Henry once said, “Over the years, I have enjoyed giving back. And in the process I have learned that true success is not measured in what you get, but in what you give back.”
In 2011, Henry and his wife, Marion, established the
In addition to his own foundation, Bloch and his wife were life-long supporters of three Kansas City institutions:
Bloch had a passion for the arts and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for
Over the years, Bloch donated countless hours in the classroom, mentored Bloch Scholars students and provided funding for scholarships and professorships. In 2012, Bloch provided a gift to the
During his lifetime, Bloch served on more than 50 corporate and nonprofit boards and received more than 50 awards and citations recognizing his entrepreneurial and philanthropic service to the academic, cultural and business communities. He received honorary doctorate degrees from eight colleges and universities.
Bloch is preceded in death by his wife, Marion; brothers Richard and Leon; and his parents. Mr. Bloch is survived by his four children: Robert L. Bloch, Thomas M. Bloch, Mrs. Mary Jo Brown, and Mrs. Elizabeth Uhlmann, all of Kansas City; 12 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.
Bloch’s brother and business partner, Richard, died on
To learn more about the life of Henry Bloch, please visit www.rememberinghenrybloch.com.
About H&R Block
Photos accompanying this announcement are available:
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Source: HRB Tax Group, Inc.