Henry Wollman Bloch, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of H&R Block, Dies at 96
Henry WOLMAN BLOCH was one of the co-founders of H&R Block, one of the premier tax preparation services in the US, as well as an active civic leader in Kansas City and beyond. A fountain honoring him stands in front of Union Station while another building adds his name at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Jonas Wollman, a merchant from Leavenworth, died at his residence at 720 West Eleventh Street at age ninety-six.
Early Life and Education
Henry was born July 30th 1922 in Kansas City, Missouri to Leon Bloch and Hortense Bienenstok (Horty). After attending Southwest High School he went on to the University of Michigan.
Henry and Marion Henry were longtime supporters of the arts, making significant donations to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Henry founded its business council and served as its chairman from 2004-2007.
He played an instrumental role in building H&R Block into one of the nation’s premier tax preparation businesses, becoming among the first to advertise it via radio and television commercials. Furthermore, he served in World War II as navigator on 32 combat missions across Europe.
Henry was deeply involved with both civic and philanthropic activities in Kansas City, particularly related to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Saint Luke’s Hospital. He played an essential role in funding a new building at Nelson-Atkins Museum that would later bear his and Marion Henry’s name – which later went on to be officially named in their honor.
He served on the Board of Directors at Business Committee for the Arts, an organization with an aim of increasing business involvement in arts on both a local and national scale.
Henry is one of the co-founders of H&R Block Inc, one of America’s leading tax preparation firms, serving as its chairman. Additionally, Henry founded its charitable arm The H&R Block Foundation – providing funding for art projects that promote creation, exhibition, preservation and preservation in contemporary art projects and programs across a range of mediums.
Achievement and Honors
Henry was an active philanthropist who cared deeply about his hometown.
As Chairman of the Board for Nelson-Atkins Museum, he spearheaded its $100 Million Endowment Campaign and served on its Steering Committee for its $200 Million Generations Capital Campaign. To honor him and his generosity, they named their new Bloch Building after him.
Henry and Marion put family first. They are survived by four devoted children: Robert Bloch (Barbara); Thomas Bloch; Mary Jo Brown (Robert); and Elizabeth Uhlmann, along with their spouses Robert Bloch, Thomas Bloch, Mary Jo Brown, Robert Brown Jr and Elizabeth Uhlmann – and 19 adored grandchildren such as Brian, Nicholas Chase Benjamin (Nick), Lynne Greenstein; Allison Stephanie Jason Edward Bloch as well as Macy and Caro Fehsenfeld.
Henry was an exceptional individual with the courage to live out his own version of the American dream. An entrepreneur and generous philanthropist, Henry believed strongly in giving back as much as success in business.
Following his death, H&R Block Headquarters were dedicated in his honor, featuring the Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain: an exquisite combination of art and showmanship consisting of 232 sequencing jets on an ellipse of black granite.
Henry was an enthusiastic collector of modern and contemporary art, as well as a longtime supporter of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. On April 23 he passed away peacefully surrounded by family. Survivors include Marion Henry’s husband Robert Bloch; sons Thomas Bloch (deceased), daughter Mary Jo Brown and granddaughters Allison Gershon, Emily Blazar and Caro Fehsenfeld as well as great-grandchildren Zachary Greenstein, Nicholas Bloch Chase Bloch and Benjamin Bloch
H&R Block’s co-founder and chairman emeritus died unexpectedly Tuesday at age 96.
After World War II, he and Leon joined forces to provide various services to small businesses of all kinds. By working hard and remaining persistent, their business expanded into what is now an international chain with over one million clients.
He leaves behind his loving wife Marion Helzberg Bloch, four children Robert Bloch, Thomas Bloch, Mary Jo Bloch Brown, and Elizabeth Bloch Uhlmann; 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Kansas City area landmarks honoring Henry Wollman Bloch include Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain and the Bloch Building at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.