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GIANTS OF UROLOGY In Memoriam: The Life and Career of Roy Jay Correa Jr, MD

By: Oriyomi Alimi, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington; Cody M. Gibbons, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington; Robert P. Gibbons, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington; Una J. Lee, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington | Posted on: 18 Mar 2024

Roy Jay Correa Jr, MD, passed away on November 21, 2023, at his home on Mercer Island near Seattle, Washington at the age of 91. Dr Correa was born on February 24, 1932, at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, where he would go on to spend his distinguished career. According to his wife, he wanted to be a doctor for as long as he could remember. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Washington (1949-1952) and went to medical school at the University of Michigan (1952-1956). He completed his surgical internship at the University of Colorado. He proudly skied 62 days during that intern year. In 1957, he entered the Navy and served as Lieutenant Commander, Medical Corps (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Lieutenant Commander Roy Jay Correa Jr, US Navy flight surgeon. 1958.

After transferring to the Marine Corps that same year, he trained as a flight surgeon in Pensacola, Florida. In 1958, he was sent to the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro, California, and in 1959 he was sent to the Naval Air Station Atsugi in Japan, where he spent the rest of his deployment until 1960. Upon returning to the States, he went back to the University of Michigan (1961-1965) for a residency in urology, where he trained under another legend in our field, Reed M. Nesbit, MD (Figure 2). This mentorship evolved when he married Dr Nesbit’s daughter, Mabelan Nesbit, on October 27, 1962. Together, they moved back to Washington and joined the Virginia Mason Clinic in 1965, where he practiced urology until his retirement in 1998 (Figure 3).


Figure 2. Dr Correa operating with Dr Reed Nesbit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 1964.


Figure 3. Dr Correa (photo 1991). Virginia Mason urologist 1965 to 1998.

Dr Correa’s service and administrative contributions to the urology community were numerous, both at the local and national level. At Virginia Mason Medical Center, he was chief of the Section of Urology (1974-1980), deputy chief of the Department of Surgery (1986-1994), and served as president of the Medical Board as well as chairman of the Short Stay Surgical Committee. He was promoted to clinical professor of urology at the University of Washington in 1980 and mentored countless urology residents as they rotated at Virginia Mason. He was president of the Northwest Urological Society in 1981, secretary of the Western Section AUA (1980-1985), and Western Section AUA President in 1987. Dr Correa served as treasurer of the AUA from 1991 to 1996 and as AUA President from 1997 to 1998.

Dr Correa was known to be a deft surgeon, acute diagnostician, indefatigable, fearless, and with high ethical standards. He championed urology as a premiere specialty in the practice of medicine. His personal medical interests included prostate cancer and urinary obstruction. He was one of the first to recognize and publish the divergent outcomes of patients with focal versus diffuse low-grade prostate cancer, thus identifying a subset of patients with this disease who did not require immediate aggressive treatment.1,2 He also spearheaded efforts to make it logistically possible for short stay surgery after recognizing that the standard 3-day hospital stay for a 20-minute perineal prostate needle biopsy was unnecessary, which was the precursor of today’s widespread surgicenters. Many former urology residents recall him as a class-act mentor and well-rounded person who enjoyed bird hunting, fishing, boating, skiing, gardening, playing bridge, debating, and golfing.

Dr Correa is survived by his wife, Mabelan; their daughter, Annemarie; their son, Jay; their granddaughter, Ella; and their great-grandson, Angel. His career and life stand as an example the urologic community seeks to emulate, and he will be sincerely missed by all who knew him.

  1. Correa RJ, Jr, Anderson RG, Gibbons RP, Mason JT. Latent carcinoma of the prostate–why the controversy?. J Urol. 1974;111(5):644-646.
  2. Kirkpatrick J. Virginia Mason Medical Center: The First 100 Years: Volume Two. Independently published; 2020.