Tributes have been paid to Ann Foster, left, previously known as Ann Knowles, who worked on local newspapers across the country before taking on the editorship of The Catholic Universe, in Manchester.
While editor of the Universe, she met both Mother Teresa and Pope John Paull II, who were both canonised as saints by the Roman Catholic Church following their deaths.
Ann died unexpectedly at her home in Thornton-in-Craven, North Yorkshire on 2 December.
Her career had begun at her hometown daily the North West Evening Mail, in Barrow-in Furness.
Following her marriage to her late husband, Les, the couple moved south where she became a reporter on the Western Daily Press.
The mother of three then took on the editor’s job at the Universe, where she remained until 1995 before being succeeded by Joseph Kelly, now the paper’s chief executive and managing editor.
He said: “Ann edited the Universe at a time when there were many profound changes affecting the global Catholic Church, and the direction and purpose of the Catholic press were under constant debate.
“Through it all Anne was steadfast and conscientious editor who never faltered in her commitment to the founding principles of the paper.”
After Les’s death, she began work for a Catholic marriage organisation and subsequently met her second husband, Malcolm Foster, himself a distinguished journalist.
Former Express and Universe colleague Shirley Whiteley said: “A very hectic retirement – Ann did not know the meaning of the phrase slowing down – included several cruises and the purchase of a holiday apartment in Spain.
“Her unexpected death not only came as a bitter blow to her family, but also to her many friends and colleagues. Ann was the sort of person you thought would go on forever and the more plates she could spin in the air, the better.
“I had the real pleasure to know and work with her on the Express and The Universe off and on for over 30 years. Rest in peace, dear friend.”