RALEIGH, N.C. - Weta Ray Clark, 44, whose nearly five years as an editor at the Raleigh News & Observer were distinguished by her creativity and her efforts to engage readers, died Saturday morning after a lengthy battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Mrs. Clark, of Holly Springs, N.C., was a suburban and features editor at The Inquirer before joining the News & Observer as home and garden editor in October 2003 and later taking on the additional role of features day editor. She left the Raleigh paper a few months ago.

She was married to Michael Clark, formerly of West Chester, Pa.

"Weta was talented, creative and passionate about her work," said John Drescher, the paper's executive editor. "She really . . . poured her heart" into her section.

Mrs. Clark's previous newspaper jobs also included copy editor and national/foreign wire editor at the Houston Chronicle and copy editor at New York Newsday.

She had bachelor's degrees in government and broadcast journalism from the University of Texas.

Mrs. Clark was born in San Francisco and was raised in Texas, where she was homecoming queen and senior class president at Wharton High School.

"She was a giver," said her husband. "It is kind of ironic that she passed away Thanksgiving weekend. She gave. She gave sunshine to everybody.

"She lived her life from Day One in a Christian manner. If anyone was prepared to go and meet the Lord and be with the angels, it was Weta."

In addition to her husband, she is survived by children Dominique Clark, Phylicia Thornabar, Reis Thornabar, Seth Clark, Seneca Clark, Kael Payne and Madison Payne; her parents, Hazel Spiller and Raymond Ray; two sisters; and two grandchildren.

A funeral service will be at noon tomorrow at Cary Church of Christ in Cary, N.C.