Senior in Action – John A. Alba

Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.

Re: photo taken in front of the waterfall:

The waterfall picture was taken at Mendenhall Lake in Alaska when we took our boat up


Senior in Action – John A. Alba

as told to Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen

Queen Latifah is quoted as saying, “My mom has always been my champion. She was very smart and grounded. She said, ‘Save your money. Pay your taxes. Don’t put everything in one basket,’ but she let me explore and be creative.”  No matter whether you hate paying taxes or see it as a fact of life, most of us want to make paying taxes as painless as possible, and many willingly pay someone else to prepare our taxes. John Alba owns an H&R Block franchise and this is his busiest time of year.

How did you end up in the Tax Preparation business?


John: My parents started an income tax and bookkeeping practice in California in 1964.  This was before computers, and I remember them working on huge financial ledgers, calculating everything by hand.  As the youngest of their six children, I helped out in the office, making copies or filing papers after school.  I attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Downey, graduated high school at Don Bosco Technical Institute, and studied Business in college.  I graduated from CSU Long Beach and completed degree requirements in Finance.

In 1983, my father developed peritonitis at the peak of tax season and had to undergo emergency surgery. I was forced into running the family business since it was the peak of tax season – we couldn’t shut the doors.  I basically took over the reins of managing the business from that point. I purchased their business, Alba Rapid Tax & Services in 1998.  I was an independent business owner until 2013. I had been pursued by H&R Block for years to join their network. I decided to become an independent franchise owner. It has been a mutually beneficial decision for me, and for H&R Block.

Once I became a Block franchisee, I was approached about assisting them with the development of their new software, volunteering our office as a laboratory.  My staff and I tested the software and made critical suggestions and improvements. I was awarded Rookie Franchisee of the Year in 2014 by Henry & Tom Block at the national convention in Dallas. I had the honor of a private luncheon with Henry and Tom Block along with receiving the award before almost ten thousand attendees. Our office has in subsequent years been recognized twice as the Top 100 Franchise offices in the nation. The most recent award was received just last year. H&R Block has more than 10,000 offices worldwide.  One of the highlights of my time with H&R Block was being chosen to represent the Company as a member of a team of franchise owners to meet with members of Congress in Washington , D.C. Our mission was to advocate for Taxpayer protections and minimum standards for tax preparers including education standards, continuing education and background checks. One of the representatives we met was the Honorable John Lewis. Initially we were in his office speaking with his Chief of Staff. When Congressman Lewis entered the room we all gasped. This was history walking into the room. Congressman Lewis was gracious and agreed to advocate on our behalf. At the conclusion of the meeting he invited us to take pictures in his office surrounded by photos on the wall of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. He then invited us out onto his balcony to take an incredible group picture with the Capitol dome in the background – a surreal and very special experience. That picture was published on the national H&R Block network webpage and was front page news locally.

I was approached more than 15 years ago by the mayor of Norwalk to join the Chamber of Commerce. I am now serving on the Board of Directors and on the planning committee for the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary celebration. H&R Block is a major donor for the 100th Anniversary being planned.

We are celebrating 59 years in business in 2023. I am proud of our amazing and award-winning staff which includes employees who have worked with me for almost 20 years.  We treat our clients like family and with respect.  For this reason, we see multi-generations of families, and are now doing tax returns of the grandchildren of our first clients.  In addition to tax preparation, we also provide services such as bookkeeping, payroll, insurance, non-profit organization formation and immigration services.  I am especially proud of our family’s legacy of assisting tens of thousands to reach their dream of permanent residency and American citizenship.


Are you married?  Tell us more about your family.


John: I am most grateful and proud to be married to my beautiful wife Deborah.  We will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary in August. We have three grown children; Brittany, Grant and Taylor. Our lives are blessed with two beautiful grandchildren; twins, Avery Mae and Aiden Dean and 4 other great nephews and nieces (grandchildren of my deceased brother) whom I treat as my grandchildren: Camila, Caydence, Christian Alexander and Cassidy. I am beyond blessed. As a grandparent, I feel like I am walking on air each time I hear my grandchildren say, “I love you Pop Pop. You are so silly.”

Our family is known in our neighborhood for going over the top when celebrating holidays. We had over two thousand children come to our door for Halloween.  Many times, our home’s won the City of Downey Christmas decorating contest.  We organize our block’s annual 4th of July Block Party which boasts a DJ and lots of food.  We love to share special times with our neighbors! We are also active supporters of community events and venues. In the past, we have sponsored Concerts in the Park for the City of Downey, Norwalk Business Expo, Angel Tree of Norwalk, the Norwalk Arts & Sport complex and support many other non-profit organizations.


Besides working, what do you like to do in your spare time?


John: My wife and I decided to travel more often after I turned 60, to take advantage of our healthy years.  We swam with sea turtles in Maui and had a great time. We attended a wedding on the Oregon coast, and took the grandchildren to Palm Desert to visit the Air Museum and zoo. We love Sedona and try to hike there a couple times a year.  Our friends recently accompanied us on a New Orleans vacation.


Spectator sports are my favorite outing.  We’ve attended numerous sporting events and concerts with my best friend Alfonso and his wife Robyn Bramer Lemus. You can often find me in the stadium, accompanied by my nephew and neighbors (they call me GP for grandpa) watching professional football, baseball, basketball and soccer.


What tips would you share for motivating seniors to live their best life?


John: Always look for the positive.  Never stop learning.  Be a person who takes action: our community, our responsibility.  Taking action makes the world a better place. Smile and be grateful.


For professional tax preparation services in English or Spanish call 562-868-3518. John is an Enrolled Agent authorized to represent taxpayers in appeal and audits. He is a Master Tax Advisor and the majority of his staff are Tax Analyst’s with an average of 10 years experience. They were named one the Top Ten tax practices in Los Angeles County by the Prime Buyers Report.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.