Henry Bloch H&R Block
H&R Block co-founder Henry Wollman Bloch died peacefully, surrounded by his family at the age of 96 on Tuesday. (H&R Block courtesy photo)

KANSAS CITY (UPI) — H&R Block co-founder Henry Wollman Bloch died at the age of 96 on Tuesday, the company announced.

The tax services provider did not disclose the cause of Bloch’s death, but stated that he died peacefully surrounded by his family.

“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,” H&R Block President and CEO Jeff Jones said. “His vision lives on through H&R Block associates and the many philanthropic organizations that he supported.”

Bloch was born in Kansas City, on July 30, 1922, and founded H&R Block with his brother, Richard Bloch in 1955.

The brothers offered Federal and state income tax preparation for $5 at the encouragement of one of their clients who was an advertising representative with the Kansas City Star.

They placed two ads in the paper, which launched the company to success as the Internal Revenue Service had begun to phase out its practice of offering free tax preparation services to taxpayers across the country.

In 1956, the company expanded to open six offices in New York City and two more in Kansas City later growing to more than 200 offices throughout the country in 1962.

He served as president of H&R Block from 1962 through 1988 and became chief executive officer in 1974 and chairman of the board of directors in 1989.

Bloch retired as the company’s CEO in 1992 and from the board of directors in 2000.

In addition to his work with H&R Block, Bloch and his wife Marion Bloch were active philanthropists, establishing the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation in 2011.

Bloch is survived by his four children, 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Reporting by Daniel Uria

United Press International is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations for most of the 20th century.

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