Edwin Paul Ornish, D.D.S.

Born January 17, 1925

Dr. Ornish passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the age of 87 of natural causes. Dr. Ornish was born on January 17, 1925, a first-generation Dallasite and lifelong resident of Dallas. Dr. Ornish grew up in the tight-knit Jewish neighborhood in South Dallas. He attended John Henry Brown Elementary and graduated from Forest Avenue High School. He was president of his Forest Avenue high school sophomore class and Standard Debating Society, a member of the tennis team, and the National Honor Society.

As a young boy, Dr. Ornish worked in his father’s pawn shop on Elm St. As a teenager, he worked at Bond’s men’s clothing store, and he became their top salesman. Despite his talent and success as a salesman, Dr. Ornish aspired to further his education and become a dentist, and he was the first member of his family to attend college and receive an advanced degree.

Dr. Ornish received a scholarship to SMU, which he attended while living at home. After three years, he matriculated to Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, and was a member of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity. He graduated from Baylor with a D.D.S. degree at age 21, one of only three Jews in his class. Following his graduation, Dr. Ornish enlisted in what was then the U.S. Army-Air Force and was a member of the Dental Corps for two years. He was stationed in San Antonio at Randolph Field (which later became Lackland Air Force Base), and subsequently transferred to Shepherd Air Field in Wichita Falls, where he was the only dentist for 15,000 servicemen.

After serving in the Air Force, Dr. Ornish returned to Dallas, where he married Natalie Moskowitz of Galveston on November 6, 1949. He and his beloved wife Natalie were inseparable for sixty-two years. Dr. Ornish established a dental practice at 4029 Lemmon Avenue, one of only a handful of Jewish dentists in Dallas at the time, and built what became the largest general dentistry practice in Dallas. In or about 1960, he commissioned the prominent architect, George Dahl, to design and construct an office building for him, and he relocated his practice to Preston Center, where he practiced until his retirement in 2007 at age eighty-two.

Three generations of Dallasites were patients, and he took delight after his retirement when he would run into former patients who would exclaim to him, “I was a patient of you as a child!” Dr. Ornish said the secret to his success as a dentist was that he not only enjoyed working with children, but, “I was a painless dentist!” He engendered deep loyalty and devotion amongst his office staff: Kay Lewis Boatright, her daughter Cheryl Gruner, Doris Coats, and Alyce Davis, all of whom loyally served Dr. Ornish for many decades. Dr. Ornish served as an Adjunct Professor of his alma mater, Baylor College of Dentistry, and where he taught Oral Diagnosis and Practice Management. He was also a successful commercial real estate investor.

Dr. Ornish was an avid tennis player and golfer and the winner of numerous tennis tournaments. He was an active member of the former Columbian Country Club and the T-Bar-M Racquet Club. He especially loved spending weekends with his family on Lake Dallas aboard the family’s 27-foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser christened the “NATWIN". Dr. Ornish loved to fish and captain the boat while pulling water-skiers. He also was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan and held season tickets to the Cowboys going back to the days when they played in the Cotton Bowl. He loved ballroom dancing with Natalie at the Rondo/Carrousel Club and the Tower Club.

Dr. Ornish was a second-generation member of Congregation Shearith Israel synagogue, of which he was a lifelong member and served on the board of directors. He was active in the Jewish Federation of Dallas, a Lifetime Member of the Texas Dental Association and the American Dental Association, Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry (1984), and Mason of the Tannehill Lodge #52.

Dr. Ornish was preceded in death by his parents, Louis and Hannah Ornish, and his older sisters, Jeanette Ornish Levey and Harriet Ornish Rossman. He is survived by his loving wife Natalie Moskowitz Ornish, their four children Laurel, Dean, Steven, and Kathy, his daughter-in-laws Martha Chapman Ornish and Anne Pearce Ornish, son-in-law John Olstad, and his four grandchildren Andre, Miles, Lucas, and Jasmine.

Funeral Service: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at Sparkman Hillcrest Northwest Highway Chapel, 7405 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75225. Shiva will be held at the home of Laurel Ornish. Memorials to the Ornish Garden at Congregation Shearith Israel are preferred.


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Edwin Paul Ornish, D.D.S.

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Nancy Button

May 2, 2012

Dr. Ornish was my childhood dentist and my parents, Dr. Bill and Ginny Rumsfeld, continued to see him up until he retired. He was such a kind man and a wonderful dentist! My thoughts and prayers go out to the family!
Nancy Rumsfeld Button

Larry Rudick

May 2, 2012

What a great man. I went to him since I was 16 and would still be going to him if he did not retire. I went to school with Dean. I send my sincere deepest sympathy to all his family. He will be truly missed.

May 1, 2012

Dr. Ornish was a friend and our family dentist for many years. He always had a warm smile and a friendly word whenever we saw him. He will be greatly missed. Our sincere sympathy to Natalie and the family for their loss.

Judy and Wayne Reed

Karen Rosen MacDonald

May 1, 2012

My deepest sympathy for your loss and to let you know that my thoughts are with you and your family.

Mervyn L. "Buddy" Bridges, Jr.

May 1, 2012

My sincere condolences to the Ornish family and his staff members Doris and Cheryl. My children Nikki and Luke were 4th generation family members who enjoyed Dr. Ornish's love and friendship while receiving his care. I believe Dr. Ornish was met in Heaven by my grandmother Ozella and Mervyn my dad who thought of Dr. Ornish as part of our Family.

Gene Miller

May 1, 2012

He was a good, friendly man & lived the life of one who knew how to be a helper. Heaven needs more like him.

Mary Downs Huggins

May 1, 2012

My father Dr James Downs had offices with Dr Ornish from the first. I was a patient from the age of 2 or 3 until I moved away. I even brought my children back to Dallas for yearly appointments for several years because he was such a wonderful man and dentist. I never understood why other people were afraid to go to the dentist. My condolences to the family especially Natalie.

Diane Tobias Laner

May 1, 2012

I can close my eyes and see Dr. Ornish's office on Sherry Lane....the wallpaper with giraffes (is that right?) in the center room and the great toy box when we were finished. He was my dentist for more than 20 years! My condolences to the family.

May 1, 2012

My mother was a friend of Dr. Ornish's aunt in Bakersfield. CA. When she heard we were moving
to Dallas she told us to look up her nephew because he was a wonderful person and a
wonderful dentist. Aunt Ida was right on both
counts. P A Rose

Marilyn Othon

April 30, 2012

I am very sad to hear of the passing of Edwin. My condolences to the family.