Dr. John C. 'Jack' Colston, a retired Baltimore urologist, dies

Dr. John C. "Jack" Colston, a Baltimore urologist and Korean War combat surgeon, was 92.
Dr. John C. "Jack" Colston, a Baltimore urologist and Korean War combat surgeon, was 92. (Handout)

Dr. John C. “Jack” Colston, a retired Baltimore urologist who had been a Marine Corps combat surgeon during the Korean War, died Feb. 3 in his sleep at his Brightwood retirement community home in Lutherville. He was 92.

“Jack was a very kind and caring physician and an excellent urologist,” said Dr. Earl P. Galleher Jr., a retired Baltimore urologist.


“He was outgoing but quiet and very friendly,” said Dr. Galleher, who also lives at Brightwood. “His patients were very fond of him, and he was was very kind to all of them. He took excellent care of them.”

The son of Dr. John Archibald Campbell “Cap” Colston Sr., an internationally known urologist and Civil War and Scottish historian, and Harriet Lippincott Zell, an opera singer, John Archibald Campbell Colston Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton.


Later in life, he legally dropped Archibald from his name, said a son, Will Colston of Bethesda.

Dr. Galleher said noted that he and Dr. Colston had been friends since 1938 when they were classmates at the Gilman School. They remained friends and “our lives have been intertwined ever since,” he said.

After graduating in 1944 from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., Dr. Colston attended the Johns Hopkins University and Mount St. Mary’s College before entering the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

“Because of World War II, he entered an accelerated program at Virginia, where he was commissioned into the Navy,” his son said.

He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1950, and returned to Baltimore to complete a residency in urology at Johns Hopkins Hospital while serving in the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant.

Called to active duty in the Navy Medical Corps in 1952, Dr. Colston was deployed to Korea and served as a battalion surgeon with the First Marine Division.

He was assigned to a battalion aid station — the forward-most medically staffed treatment location possible — and was responsible for stabilizing wounded soldiers, and at times performing emergency surgery before they were transported to more secure medical facilities away from enemy lines.

His decorations include the Navy Unit Commendation ribbon bar.

Dr. Coltson returned to Hopkins and completed his residency in urology. At the same time, he remained in the Navy Reserve until 1956.

“I went into urology after falling under the Colston influence,” Dr. Galleher said. “After we completed our residencies, we opened an office together on University Parkway across from Union Memorial Hospital.”

Dr. Colston later established a private practice in urology when he opened his own office on St. Paul Street.

In addition to his practice, Dr. Colston served as chief of urology at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He participated in several research projects, including working in Chad, and earned citations in multiple articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


During the 1980s, he was one of the early pioneers in the use of lithotripsy, a minimally invasive shock-wave technique used to dissolve kidney stones. In order to use the new procedure, Dr. Colston trained in Germany, family members said.

He retired in 1991.

He enjoyed playing, golf, tennis and bridge. He was also an avid reader, preferring nonfiction and history.

Dr. Colston spent summers at Gibson Island, where he was a member of the Gibson Island Club. He was also a member of the Elkridge Club.

“He loved Gibson Island,” his son said.

A longtime resident of Poplar Hill, he later moved to Devon Hill and finally to Brightwood in 2008.

Dr. Colston and his wife, Frances Dixon Fenimore, whom he married in 1955, were world travelers. In addition to Europe, they had visited India, China and South Africa.

She died in 2017.

Dr. Colston was known for his “humor, consistent humility and kindness to everyone he encountered,” his son wrote in a profile of his father.

He noted that his father downplayed his achievements, maintained a self-depracating humor and cared deeply for others in need. In the profile, he wrote: “Dr. John Campbell Colston lived a life defined by caring for the people around him.”

Graveside services are private.

In addition to his son, Dr. Colston is survived by another son, John Colston of Glyndon; two daughters, Debby Furcolo of Chevy Chase and Letitia Colston of Seattle; a sister, Dr. Anne Colston Wentz of Bozeman, Mont.; and nine grandchildren.

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