Mike Parta passed away recently after a long career in journalism

Contributed photo
Parta Printers was the home to several publications including the New York Mills Herald and the Finnish newspaper Amerikan Uutiset.

By Tucker Henderson

Reporter

When one thinks of active community members of New York Mills, one local name may come to mind. The community recently lost a journalistic giant, Finnish friend, and all-around community leader, Mike Parta.

Despite being clean-shaven, Parta certainly displayed the characteristics of a true Parta. These being: community-minded, devoted to accurately informing the public on the news and an attitude of continuing improvement for his home.

The story of the Parta family in New York Mills started in the fall of 1932 when Mike’s grandfather, Carl Parta, and his family arrived to establish the Finnish-language newspaper, the Minnesotan Uutiset, which is still being published and is the last Finnish newspaper in the United States. For any Finn that would like a subscription, it is now called the Amerikan Uutiset and is published out of Lake Worth, Fla.

Carl and Lempi Parta, with their business partners Adolph and Alma Lundquist, operated Northwestern Publishing Company, which at that time had purchased the New York Mills Herald. With both an English and a Finnish paper, they had their work cut out for them. This was nothing new to Carl, however, as he had previously worked at newspapers in both languages since he was a boy.

Both the Herald and the Uutiset were very successful newspapers. The NY Mills Herald was 94 years old when it merged with the Perham Enterprise-Bulletin to form the East Otter Tail Focus. The Amerikan Uutiset will be turning 90 years old this September. 

Carl and Lempi’s son, Russell started working in the printing shop for his father after being discharged from the Army. He and his wife, June, eventually purchased the company from his father and ran it for a number of years until his son, Michael, joined the business in 1969. They co-operated the business until Russ retired in 1980.

Mike and Jan Parta purchased the firm and incorporated it into Parta Printers, Inc. He had attended Concordia College and joined the newspaper staff as editor. Other newspapers in the local vicinity, such as the Perham Enterprise-Bulletin, Wadena Pioneer Journal and Staples World would be purchased by the Partas over the years. Their daughter would become the fourth generation of Partas to work in the newspaper industry.

Mike worked tirelessly to report accurate news to the communities he served, and endeavored for newspapers all over the state of Minnesota when he served as President of the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 1985-86 and also as Chairman of the National Newspaper Association in the 1990s. He even appeared on national television to advocate for newspapers across the country. He served for years on the NY Mills City Council, further promoting and improving the city.

The Parta family can be thanked for many things, such as their generations of devoted journalism, years of service to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, and preservation of the Finnish Culture in our local area, all of which have made New York Mills a great city to live in.

Mike devoted his life to the betterment of his community, as did his parents and grandparents before him. He instilled this attitude of improvement in his own children that gives hope for the future as another grandchild of his graduates from New York Mills this spring.