Henry Bloch’s legacy in Kansas City
The notes have been written by strangers. They stuff a tiny box, placed on the edge of a bench next to a framed black and white photo of the late Henry W. Bloch, whose personal art collection covers the surrounding walls at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
“Thank you so much for sharing,” one note reads. “We are so blessed by your life.”
Bloch, the co-founder of H&R Block and Kansas City philanthropist, died Tuesday at age 96. The Nelson-Atkins will host a memorial service for him on Monday and said Thursday it expects an overflow crowd.
“Dear Mr Bloch,” begins another note. “I grew up in Kansas City and first came here as a sixth grader in 1955. I worked at Winstead’s and passed the Nelson most days. I appreciate your generosity and example of ‘paying it forward.’”
Another offers a remembrance.
“One of the most wonderful surprises of working at the museum was when I spotted Henry visiting the galleries or attending a lecture. It felt like such a privilege to enjoy the galleries alongside the man who made so much of it possible.”
A fourth is a sentiment stated as fact: “Mr. Bloch was a kind & generous soul. He will be missed.”
The public memorial for Bloch, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday, is expected to draw hundreds of people who feel as deeply.
The memorial will be held in the 500-person capacity Atkins Auditorium. The museum is closed on Mondays, but doors to the Bloch Building will open at noon, 90 minutes prior to the memorial.
To accommodate an overflow crowd, screens will be set up in Lens 2 of the Bloch Building, a training room and two classrooms, where a live stream of the memorial will be broadcast. A simulcast of the service will be shown at H&R Block headquarters downtown. And the Nelson-Atkins will also stream the service on its Facebook page.
A separate funeral service is private. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for contributions to the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC, the Nelson-Atkins or St. Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute.
Condolences may be sent to rememberinghenrybloch.com.