• Henry Bloch, founder of H&R Block tax preparation company, dead at 96

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -

    Henry Bloch, who founded the H&R Block tax preparation company with his brother, Richard Bloch, died Tuesday, the Kansas City Star reported. He was 96.

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    Bloch started H&R Block in 1955 with his brother, who died in 2004, the newspaper reported. He said the idea to start his own business began in 1946 after he returned from World War II, where he served as an Army Air Corps navigator, the Star reported.

    “Today we mourn the passing of our founder and friend, Henry Bloch,” the company announced on Twitter. “Henry was not only the “H” in H&R Block … he was the heart of it, and he will be missed.”

    Bloch was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 20, 1922. He and his younger brother, Richard Bloch, who died in 2004, started H&R Block in 1955. 

    The idea to start his own business came to Henry Bloch in 1946 after he returned from the war. He and his older brother, Leon Bloch, borrowed $5,000 to open a bookkeeping firm in Kansas City, Missouri, the Star reported.

    When Leon decided to pursue a law degree, Henry teamed with his brother Richard and started the tax preparation company, putting a $5 ad in the Star to lure customers.

    “We admittedly had no idea of the success we would eventually achieve,” Bloch wrote in a guest column for the Star in 2017. “While it required a lot of hard work, we also benefited from a lot of good luck.”

    H&R Block went public in 1962, and Bloch was the company’s chief executive officer from 1974 to 1992, the Star reported. He retired as chairman of the board of directors in 2002, a post he had held since 1989. He was president of the company from 1962 to 1988.

    Bloch is survived by four children: Robert L. Bloch, Thomas M. Bloch, Mary Jo Brown, and Elizabeth Uhlmann, all of Kansas City; 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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