Lighthouse 02

James Joseph Ashen

August 24, 1929 ~ August 18, 2021 (age 91)


James Joseph Ashen, DDS

August 24, 1929 – August 18, 2021

Sacramento, California

In the presence of our Lord and Savior, free from pain, James J. Ashen, DDS, was reunited after 27 years with his beloved and world travel partner Patricia (Patti) Smith on Wednesday, August 18, 2021. His two daughters and eldest son were at his bedside. James was born to Clyde H. Ashen and Loretto R. Sullivan on August 24, 1929, in Santa Ana, CA. James was preceded in death by his sisters, Bernadine Markel, Rosemary Banks, brother Harry Ashen, parents Clyde and Loretto, wife Patricia R. Smith, and mother to his children Dona I. Sedinger. He is survived by daughters Catherine L. Ashen-Bitetti, Patricia D. Ashen (Steve Westerman), sons James J. Ashen Jr. (Kris), Michael S. Ashen (Shawndra), Edward J. Ashen, and Charles H. Ashen (Cindy). He was known as Grandpa Doc to grandchildren Steven Bitetti, Paul Bitetti (Arielle), John Zimmerman (Dana), Rex Zimmerman, James J. Ashen III (Katie), Patrick Ashen (Hannah), Christiana Ashen, Sara Ashen, Michael S. Ashen Jr., Jada Ashen, Carly Ashen, Benjamin Ashen, Harrison Ashen, Hannah Ashen, great-grandchildren James J. Ashen IV, Carson, and Baby Zimmy. 

James was raised in Santa Ana and Balboa Penninsula in Newport Beach, CA. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School was a two-year letterman in football and track, earning "Tar of the Week" for football in his junior and senior years. As a player, coach, and superfan, his passion for football ran deep in his veins. James earned an Associate of Arts degree from Orange Coast College. He attended San Diego State University and was a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member. In 1956, James earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Creighton University, School of Dentistry in Omaha, NE. He was a member of Delta Sigma Delta, Omega Chapter. James enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1948 and was commissioned to Active Duty in 1956 during the Korean conflict. He earned the rank of Lieutenant served in the United States Navy Dental Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, CA, Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan, and Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA. He was released from Active Duty in 1958. James served as a reserve officer until 1970 when he was Honorably Discharged from the United States Navy.

James practiced dentistry as an associate dentist, until 1962 when he opened his dental practice in Santa Ana. After 17 years in a successful private practice, at age 50, James and his wife Patti made a life-changing decision. In 1979 James sold his dental practice and home in Newport Beach and with Patti, and his two high school-aged youngest sons moved to Modesto, CA. He formed a partnership with two of his dental school classmates. He opened six dental offices in the Central and Sacramento Valley of California, creating California Dental Care, Inc., now known as Dental Source of California. In 1981 at the request of his business partners, James, Patti, and his two sons moved to Sacramento, CA. In 1983 James became President and CEO of California Dental Care. He is a revolutionary in the delivery of dentistry, developing cost-saving programs for labor union members to afford quality dentistry in a private practice atmosphere. He believed building relationships with integrity and honesty produced loyalty and trust with labor unions. His belief is still the cornerstone of Dental Source today. James and his wife Patti were married for 23 years and loved traveling the world together. He and Patti visited many cities and countries on six of the seven continents.

In 1989, James and Patti settled in their favorite town and bought a second home in Playa Amapas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Before Patti's tragic death in 1994, the two spent more and more time in Puerto Vallarta, making Sacramento their second home. James retired in 2000, and for the next 21 years, James enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports and fine-tuned his golf game, living primarily in his home in Puerto Vallarta while playing golf with friends and family, sometimes 5 to 6 days a week. He has had two hole-in-ones in his lifetime, and over the last ten years, he's posted at or under his age as his score, many times a year as early as last March at 91 years young. Per James' request, his final interment will be with his wife Patti at Pacific View Memorial Cemetery in Newport Beach, CA. On Saturday, November 20th, at noon, a public Mass will be held at St. Joachim Catholic Church 1964 Orange Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92627. In memory of James J. Ashen, DDS, contributions can be made to Loveall Foundation for Children by visiting; or mail to; 4120 Douglas Blvd., #306-304 Granite Bay, CA 95746-5936.


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Funeral Mass
November 20, 2021

12:00 PM
Saint Joachim Church
1964 Orange Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

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