Henry Bloch was born July 30, 1922, the second son of a prominent Kansas City lawyer. He attended Southwest High School, began his college career at the University of Kansas City – now the University of Missouri-Kansas City – and later transferred to the University of Michigan, from which he graduated in 1944.
Henry joined the Army Air Corps shortly after the United States entered World War II. Serving in the Eighth Air Force as a navigator on B-17 bombers, he flew 32 combat missions over Germany, three of them over Berlin. Among his awards are the Air Medal with three Bronze Leaf Clusters, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Three Bronze Service Stars, and WWII Victory Medal.
During the war, Henry and his brothers, Leon and Richard, began corresponding with each other about starting a family business, something that the boys’ parents had always encouraged. The Army Air Corps later sent Henry to the Harvard Business School for graduate training in statistical control. While at Harvard, he read a transcript of a speech by Professor Sumner Schlicter, a noted authority on economics and labor relations. Big business and labor had many resources, Professor Schlicter explained, but small business did not have comparable resources geared to meet its needs. Henry and his brothers saw an entrepreneurial opportunity in providing support and resources to small businesses.