Celebrating generations of South Bay service and healthy smiles with the Withers family
Listening to Dr. Jim Withers and Dr. Brian Withers talk about their hometown, it’s easy to hear how important the Manhattan Beach community is to the father-and-son duo. Their practice, Withers Dental, has been keeping smiles in South Bay healthy for more than 50 years. As a family, they also enjoy a rich history in the 90266.
The original Withers “mover and shaker” was Jim’s grandmother Maude, one of the original founders of the Neptunian Woman’s Club. Her son, Jerome Withers, held the prestigious position of Manhattan Beach police chief.
Ralph Rhind, a local OB/GYN who married Maude’s daughter, Kathryn Withers, was the doctor who delivered Jim. Kathryn and Ralph’s son, John Rhind, still runs his CPA practice from the 18th and Sepulveda office where Jim began his dental practice. And John’s son, Jeff Rhind, is currently a dentist in El Segundo.
In addition to the many family ties Jim and Brian have in the South Bay, their individual SoCal roots are just as strong. Both father and son attended Mira Costa High School, went to undergrad at USC and were even members of the same fraternity: Phi Delta Theta. Their paths to dentistry, however, were quite different.
For Jim, dentistry was in the cards from an early age. While working at the Chevron located across from where Uncle Bill’s is today, a young Jim Withers had a spark of inspiration.
“There was a dentist that came by the service station, and a light bulb went off. Not long after, I was enrolled in the vocational program at Mira Costa.”
Though his interest in dentistry started early, Jim had another passion as well: baseball. At USC Jim pitched for the Trojans, taking them to two national championships and “setting a record for a ‘shutout’ win over Oklahoma State in the final game.”
His brother, Robert Withers, was also a Trojan, playing baseball under Coach Dedeaux. Jim’s professional career in baseball ended, however, when he started the USC dental program—a decision he has never regretted.
Brian, on the other hand, “was never particularly interested in dentistry,” though he was “always drawn to science and medicine.” At USC he kept himself busy with his studies, receiving a bachelor’s degree in international business with a minor in pre-med, lettering in rugby (he was also team captain during his senior year) and serving as the president of his fraternity.
When his interest did turn to dentistry, however, Brian moved full steam ahead, graduating from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. There he would receive a community service award for his work with dental-based outreach programs, which included being a cofounder of the dental division of Project Homeless Connect.
Both Jim and Ellen, Brian’s mother, were incredibly proud of their son’s work. “She would tell the lady at the checkout stand,” Brian notes, explaining his mother’s excitement to share the news of her son’s achievements.
When Brian finished his studies in San Francisco, the decision to return to Manhattan Beach was an obvious one. “I knew I would come back here,” he says. “All of my friends are here.”
Of course there was also the incredible opportunity to work alongside his father. “It surprises me that we work so well together,” says Brian. “We can find just about anything to fight about. But when we’re in the office, I’m always learning so much from him.”
Returning to the South Bay has also enabled Brian to reconnect with his old team, the Mira Costa Mustangs. “I’ve become the team dentist,” Brian explains. “We do all the mouth guards for the team. If I do my job right with the mouth guards, the players won’t need to see me later.”
For Jim and Brian, Manhattan Beach is more than where they’re from; it’s where they call home. Quick to smile, Brian explains, “I love it here. People say Manhattan Beach has changed, but in our office it doesn’t feel that way.”