Dr. Fray Francis Marshall, a urologist and former Johns Hopkins professor who developed surgical technique for the treatment of kidney cancer, died of cancer Dec. 2 at the Atlanta Hospice. He was 67 and had lived in Ruxton before moving to Georgia in 1998.
"Fray was an incredibly creative and imaginative physician who saw the problems and went searching for the answers," said Emory University Chancellor, Dr. Michael M.E. Johns, a close friend who is the former Johns Hopkins School of Medicine dean. "He was a super hero in urology and his greatest legacies are his students and the thousands of patients he cared for who are alive today."
At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Marshall was the Bernard Schwartz distinguished professor of urology and oncology. He was also director of the division of adult urology and chief of urology at the old Baltimore City Hospitals.
He was known as one of the nation's top urological surgeons and clinical researchers in urologic cancer.
Born in New York City, he was the son of a Cornell University Hospital professor and urologist, Dr. Victor Fray Marshall, and Barbara Walsh. He spent his summers in a family log cabin in Virginia.
"He was a Virginia gentleman. He stood out," said his friend, Dr. Johns. "He had great manners and posture. He was persistent and curious. He also talked to everyone. And years ago, he was a great Rolling Stones fan."
He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Virginia, where he played football and soccer. He also graduated from the Virginia School of Medicine and did his internship and general surgery residency at the University of Michigan. After three years in general surgery, he completed a three-year urology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1975, he moved to Baltimore and joined the Hopkins medical school faculty.
Dr. Johns said his friend never forgot the lessons learned on a football field. In medicine and in football, he knew to "carry the ball to the goal line."
Hopkins colleagues said Dr. Marshall was an innovator who devised a surgical treatment in 1984 for kidney cancer patients that is used around the world. Dr. Marshall also developed the "mini laparoscopic prostatectomy," a procedure that required a smaller incision and resulted in less pain and shorter recovery.
"The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute was very fortunate to have Fray Marshall, surgeon, scientist, and compassionate physician, on its faculty," said Dr. Patrick C. Walsh, university distinguished service professor of urology. "As a brilliant and courageous surgeon he pioneered an aggressive approach for the removal of cancers of the kidney that had spread into the heart."
He said that Dr. Marshall was "much more than just a surgeon, he was also a scientist."
In 1997, Dr. Marshall helped to develop and perform the first gene therapy treatment for kidney and prostate cancer. A Baltimore Sun account said he was part of the team that helped make an experimental cancer vaccine.
The experiment involved 18 patients who were in advanced stages of kidney cancer.
Dr. Marshall removed kidney tumors from the 18 patients. The tumors were then chopped up and expanded in laboratory culture dishes. Their tumors were used to create a vaccine and given back to the patients in three injections spaced several months apart.
"Probably what happens in the crudest sense is that the body's immune system is blinded in some way to cancer, possibly by substances created by the tumor," Dr. Marshall said in the 1997 Sun interview.
In 1998 he became professor and chairman of the Emory University Department of Urology.
During his career, Dr. Marshall co-authored more than 300 scientific papers and 62 book chapters.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the Emory University campus in Atlanta.
Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Lindsay Wheatley Marshall; a son, Brooks Fray Marshall of Laguna Beach, Calif.; a daughter, Wheatley Ann Marshall of Chicago; two brothers, Victor R. Marshall of Albuquerque, N.M. and Philip S. Marshall of Fairbanks, Alaska; and a grandson.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun