John C. Colston, MD

Class Year




Posted on: February 27, 2018

Dr. John Campbell Colston, a retired urologist, died peacefully on February 3, 2018. He was 92.

Beloved and highly respected by his family and friends, “Jack” Colston carried an unwavering warmth and genuineness, as well as an engaging sense of humor, through his many pursuits in life.

The son of Dr. John “Cap” Colston, also a urologist, and Harriett Zell Colston, a renown opera singer, Dr. Colston was born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton. He graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA in 1944.

Dr. Colston, who was known among friends as “Jack,” conducted college studies at Johns Hopkins University and Mount St. Mary’s College before transferring to the University of Virginia School of Medicine where he was commissioned into the U.S. Navy. He completed his Doctorate In Medicine, in 1950. He then returned to Baltimore to conduct his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, while serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve, before being called to active duty in August of 1952.

Serving as a lieutenant in the Naval Medical Corps, Dr. Colston deployed to Korea where he served as a battalion surgeon with the First Marine Division (Reinforced) from the fall of 1952 through the summer of 1953. During this period, he was positioned in a battalion aid station — the forward most medically staffed treatment location possible — and was responsible for stabilizing wounded soldiers, at times performing emergency surgery before they could be transported to more secure medical facilities. For his part in his Marine Division’s highly successful operations, during this period, Dr. Colston and his colleagues received the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon Bar.

Completing his active duty service in Korea, Dr. Colston returned to Baltimore where he completed his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital while remaining in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1956. After his residency, he established a private practice in urology, opening an office on St. Paul Street.

In 1955, he married Frances Dixon Fenimore, with whom he would settle in Roland Park and raise four children. Jack and Frances, who celebrated their 60th anniversary in September 2015, enjoyed spending time with their family and friends, traveling the world and participating in a wide range of activities including golf, tennis, bridge, reading, and more. He and Frances also owned a home on the Chesapeake Bay and spent many weekends and holidays there with family.

Jack Colston had two siblings—his younger sister, Dr. Anne Colston Wentz, a retired ob/gyn and endocrinologist physician and an acclaimed pioneer in in-vitro fertilzation, and an older disabled brother, Frederick C. Colston. Balancing his family and medical career, Dr. Colston cared for his brother Fred closely, until his passing in 2009.

Dr. Colston’s medical career was marked with many accomplishments, including being appointed to chief of urology at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC). Dr. Colston also participated in several research projects, his work including service in the nation of Chad and citations in multiple articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In the 1980s, Dr. Colston was one of the earliest pioneers in using lithotripsy– a minimally invasive shock-wave technology–to resolve kidney stones. He trained on the technology in Germany and deployed it to treat many patients successfully in the latter part of his career.

Family, friends and colleagues remember Jack Colston for his many accomplishments, but much more so for his humor, consistent humility and kindness to everyone he encountered. From downplaying his achievements and maintaining an ever-present self-deprecating humor, to caring for his brother and his concern for others in need, Dr. John Campbell Colston lived a life defined by caring for the people around him.