Jan Huston-Pryor, beloved mother, wife, and doctor, tragically passed away this week. #HipNJ would like to tell you about her life, her family, and her incredible work.
Her husband, Jonathan Pryor, her confidante and nanny, Amy Kolb, her twelve children, her grandchildren, and her siblings join the community to mourn her passing.
Huston graduated with a B.S. degree in Nursing from Michigan State University, followed by an M.S. degree in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University. After practicing as a nurse for some time, she returned to Michigan State for medical school. Following a number of years as a vascular and general surgeon, she found her professional calling: to provide diagnosis and surgical treatment of breast disease. In 1999, she founded Summit Breast Care, opening several offices in Northern New Jersey where patients, including the uninsured, received great care.
She also served as medical director of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark. Most recently, she worked as a medical director at Hackensack UMC-Mountainside Hospital, where she was a strong proponent of evidence-based screening and treatment of breast disease. She was also the key investigator for a study of the Breathlink test, a promising cancer screening tool utilizing genetic markers in a patient’s breath.
Connie Dwyer, founder of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Saint Michael’s Medical Center, remembers Dr. Huston as a skilled breast surgeon who put her patients first. “She cared about each and every patient, always taking time to ensure that they received the surgical care and follow-up necessary to manage a breast cancer diagnosis,” she said. “Dr. Huston will be missed by all who knew her. We have all lost a hero in the fight against breast cancer,” she stated.
Janet Lesko, former Director of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Saint Michael’s Medical Center, shared her thoughts. “I had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Huston,” she said. “She was a first rate breast surgeon who was dedicated to her patients.” She stated that Dr. Huston gave out her personal cell phone number so that patients could call her for any reason, providing them with an extra level of comfort knowing that she was only a call away. “We all enjoyed working with her. She had great ideas on how to improve our services to patients, and was at the forefront of emerging technologies in the fight against breast cancer,” Lesko concluded.
“She was the doctor I would introduce patients to, and no one would be turned away as long as she knew their situation,” Deborah Q. Belfatto, co-founder of Susan G. Komen North Jersey, remembered fondly. “The joke was, you could show your library card and she would help you!”
“Her and I go back many years, and have attended a number of educational and outreach events together. She was often honored for her work, and we feted her in 2003 at the Pink Tie Ball. She was a significant part of Komen and touched countless lives. The community has suffered a tremendous loss.”
Everyone who was asked to speak about Dr. Huston cited her compassion and love for her patients. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Services celebrating Dr. Huston’s life will be held in the First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, with a memorial gathering on Saturday, March 25 from 1-5pm. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m.
Arrangements are in care of the Codey & Jones Funeral Home of Caldwell. To share memories and condolences, please click here. Memorial donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell Memorial Fund.