Kansas City, Mo. (July 23, 2004) -- Richard Adolf Bloch, who together with his brother Henry parlayed a family-run bookkeeping business into tax-prep conglomerate H&R Block, died here of heart failure.

He was 78.

Richard and Henry Bloch began expanding their 12-employee business by advertising their tax preparation services in local papers. In 1955, due to an overwhelming response, the brothers altered the spelling of their company surname to the easier-to-pronounce “Block.” The company soon branched out to major cities such as New York and went public in 1962.

By the late 1970s, H&R Block was preparing one of every nine tax returns in the United States. Today, the company has nearly 11,000 offices in 11 countries.

After battling lung and colon cancer, Richard Bloch sold his interest in the company in 1982 and became a full-time advocate for cancer patients, establishing one of the country’s first cancer hot lines in 1980. He also founded the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation Inc., the R.A. Bloch Cancer Management Center and the R.A. Bloch Cancer Support Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

"Dick was a true entrepreneur, and his energy and talents helped create the path that makes H&R Block the professional and accessible company it is today," said Mark Ernst, the company's current chairman and chief executive.

-- WebCPA staff

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