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Henry Bloch (1922–2019), co-founder of tax preparation giant H&R Block

by Kirk Fox

The H&R Block founder was a beloved philanthropist in his hometown of Kansas City.

Henry Bloch was a co-founder of the tax preparation giant H&R Block and a major philanthropist in his hometown of Kansas City. Bloch and his younger brother Richard started H&R Block in 1955. The company grew into an international business and went public in 1962. Bloch became the spokesperson for the company in popular TV commercials with his down home Midwestern style.  He was the catalyst for the Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute, the Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the H&R Block headquarters, and he donated his valuable impressionist paintings to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Bloch was in the Army Air Corps during World War II, flying many missions as a B-17 navigator.

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Died: Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Who else died on April 23?)

Details of death: Died at home surrounded by family at the age of 96.

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Bloch wrote a thank you column to Kansas City in the Kansas City Star in 2017: “If it weren’t for the Kansas Citians who supported our early efforts, H&R Block would never have become what it is today. We did this not because we had to, but because it was the right thing to do. We knew that business could be more than making money, but also about making a difference.”

Bloch on his service during World War II: “I flew B-17s, the Flying Fortress. I flew 32 missions, mainly over Germany We bombed Berlin three times. We flew three missions on D-Day and were shot up on every mission, but not on D-Day. We weren’t shot up on D-Day; that was a very easy day.” —Bloch told the Kansas City Star in 2016

What they said about him: “Henry Bloch was to me what he was to many in town — a mentor, a leader, a hero. I looked up to him every day. … This country needs more Henry Blochs.” —Greg Graves, former CEO of Burns & McDonnell, according to the Kansas City Star

Full obituary: The Kansas City Star

Birthdate: July 30, 1922 (Who else was born on July 30th?)

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