KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -- Tax preparer H&R Block says its co-founder, Henry Bloch, has died at the age of 96.

The company says he died of natural causes Tuesday at St. Luke's Hospice in Kansas City.

Bloch founded H&R Block in 1955 with his brother, Richard, after the Internal Revenue Service stopped providing free income tax returns service.

The Bloch family issued the following statement:

Our father was a great and deeply loved man. Although most people knew Henry Bloch as a tremendous entrepreneur and philanthropist, we will remember him as a devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Our dad was passionate about his family and his community, and he will long be remembered for his benevolence, humility and fortitude.

Henry Bloch retired as the company's chief executive officer in 1992 and as chairman of the board of directors in 2000. He also was a philanthropist who started a foundation with his wife, Marion, that supported numerous charitable causes, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

H&R Block president and chief executive officer Richard Green said in a written statement that Bloch "embodied the best of American business."

Bloch was born in Kansas City and attended the University of Kansas City or as it’s known today UMKC. He also served in the Army during World War II.

“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 H&R Block Inc. “His vision lives on through our H&R Block associates and the many philanthropic organizations that he supported.”

The funeral will be a private service for the immediate family.

The public is invited to attend a memorial service in the Atkins Auditorium at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on April 29 at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:

  • Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC
    5110 Cherry Street
    Kansas City, MO 64110
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
    4525 Oak Street
    Kansas City, MO 64111
  • St. Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute
    901 E. 104th Street
    Kansas City, MO 64131

Online condolences for the family may be left at rememberinghenrybloch.com.

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