Dr. Fray Marshall: Prominent doctor inspired others

The legacy of Dr. Fray Marshall isn't just the thousands of patients he successfully treated as a urologist, nor the new surgical approaches he invented.

It was the hundreds of medical students Dr. Marshall inspired at Johns Hopkins University for 23 years and Emory University for 15 years.

Dr. Marshall was one of the nation's foremost urologic surgeons and clinical researchers. He conceived of new ways to treat diseases of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs, especially advanced kidney tumors.

"You look at urologists who are leaders all around the country, and they are people that have been touched by Fray," said Dr. Michael Johns, Chancellor of Emory University and Mr. Marshall's long-time friend.

Dr. Marshall, Chairman of the Emory University Department of Urology, died Dec. 2 at Atlanta Hospice after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 67. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on the Emory University campus in Atlanta.

Dr. Johns described his friend as a "classic Virginia gentleman" -- a man of good posture and impeccable manners. His family had roots in Virginia dating to the 1740s, according to his wife of 38 years, Lindsay Marshall.

Dr. Marshall followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps when he pursued a medical degree. He was the eldest son of Dr. Victor Fray Marshall of New York City, who was himself a respected urologist.

Upon graduating from the University of Virginia after only three years, Dr. Marshall obtained a medical degree at the same institution. He was a visiting professor at dozens of different institutions over his lifetime, including three stints in Japan.

Mrs. Marshall fully supported her husband's devotion to work, which included 14-hour weekdays and frequent weekend days, too. Their son, Brooks Fray Marshall, 33, often accompanied Dr. Marshall to the office on Sundays as a child to spend quality time with him.

When he wasn't working, Dr. Marshall enjoyed spending time with his family, which includes his son and daughter-in-law Kami Bobbitt, his son's new 3-month-old Otis Fray Marshall -- their first grandson -- and daughter Wheatley, 36. They all understood the man and his work were inseparable.

The family would laugh when they saw outfits Dr. Marshall assembled while dressing in the dark to avoid waking his wife in the morning.

"Sometimes we'd look at him and he wearing a dotted tie, striped shirt and plaid jacket," Mrs. Marshall said. "We called it a ‘pattern day.'"

Dr. Viraj Master, a faculty member in Emory's Department of Urology, saw Dr. Marshall operate as a young resident at the University of California San Diego. Master was awed by his ability to multitask.

"I distinctly remember watching him operate on a complicated tumor and he was talking about wood furniture making," Master said. "One of the trainees ripped a blood vessel. Fray put a stitch right through the bleeding and it immediately stopped. He just kept operating and just kept talking without even breaking a sweat."

Dr. Marshall never retired, even after he was stricken with cancer. He was beloved the staff and the patients, Johns said.

"Everybody knew Dr. Marshall," Johns said. "He spoke to everybody whether you are the clerk in the front or the operating room nurse. He met everybody on an equal basis."