The University of Missouri-Kansas City mourns the loss of Marion Helzberg Bloch, a great civic leader for our community and a true friend of our university.
The philanthropist and wife of UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management benefactor Henry W. Bloch passed away in her Mission Hills home Sept. 24. She was 83.
Her husband, Henry, is a former UMKC Trustee and her son Tom is the current chairman of the Trustees.
Just last month, the Bloch School proudly unveiled a life-and-a-half-sized statue of Marion and Henry Bloch. The statue, created by sculptor Eugene Daub, will serve as a reminder to UMKC students for years to come of Marion and Henry’s generosity and the love Kansas City holds for them.
The youngest of three children of Hortence and H. Morton Helzberg, Marion was born on July 27, 1930, in Kansas City, Mo. She graduated from Southwest High School in Kansas City and the University of Missouri. During her junior year of college, Marion’s older brother Jim fixed her up on a date with his close friend, a budding entrepreneur named Henry Bloch. They were married in 1951, one month after Marion’s college graduation.
Committed to her four children’s (Bob, Tom, Mary Jo and Liz) education in the 1950s and 60s, Marion was president of the PTA at their elementary school. Later, she became actively involved in the larger Kansas City community. She served on numerous boards, including the New Reform Temple and the State Ballet of Missouri.
With Henry, Marion was at the forefront of countless civic and philanthropic initiatives in Greater Kansas City. Their personal philanthropic legacy includes generous support of arts institutions, and particularly The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Future generations in Kansas City will enjoy Marion and Henry’s collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, one of the finest private collections of its type in the world. In 2007, the Museum’s new Bloch Building was ranked #1 by Time magazine on its list of the ten best architectural marvels in the world.
The couple established the Marion Bloch Missouri Chair in Leadership at UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Adjacent to the School is the Marion H. Bloch Terrace and Park, a gift to UMKC from Marion’s children to honor their loving mother.
Marion and Henry also established the Marion H. Bloch Chair in Gastroenterology and Medicine at Saint Luke’s Hospital. Her nephew, Dr. John Helzberg, became the first occupant of the Chair.
In 2011, the couple formed the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, which is now one of the largest family foundations in the region.