Services scheduled for former publisher of Detroit Legal News

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Funeral services for John T. Parks, former publisher of The Detroit Legal News, The Legal Advertiser, The Oakland County Legal News and The Macomb County Legal News, will be held Thursday afternoon, June 3.

The Detroit Legal News is the parent company of the Washtenaw County Legal News.

Parks, 61, of Birmingham, died May 25 after a long struggle with cancer.

Born in Detroit, Parks had lived in the Detroit area, including many years in Birmingham. His summer residence in recent years was in Eagle Harbor, Mich.

After a long list of colorful part-time jobs and his studies at Eastern Michigan University, Parks launched his career - his only career - by joining Parker Publications, the publishers of The Legal Advertiser and The Oakland Legal News as a salesman in 1970.

After the death of the then publisher, his father Jack Parks, in 1971, John began the assumption of certain of his father's responsibilities while working closely with his other partners.

He shortly became the principal leader.

Later he arranged the 2000 merger of these publications with The Detroit Legal News and became the publisher and general manager of the combined publications until his retirement in December 2006.

Throughout his life, Parks was an avid outdoorsman.

Long associated with the Michigan Press Association where he served as a board member for several years, he was a strong advocate of the importance of legal notices to the independent smaller community newspapers of Michigan.

Admired for his competence and enjoyed for his conviviality by the legal community, he counted scores of lawyers and other people of good cheer as his close friends.

Suzanne Favale, who succeeded Parks as publisher, told Legal News employees on Tuesday morning of his passing in terms that said it all: "The world lost a wonderful man today."

Said Favale: "John took me under his wing as my mentor and taught me the legal newspaper business and for that I'll be forever grateful. John's greatest attributes were his honesty, loyalty, and integrity.

"John had such a big heart and wanted to take care of everyone. I've never had a friend as kind, helpful, and loyal as John. He will be greatly missed."

Parks' other business involvements included his role as chairman of Parks Title, a title company begun in 1992 with his nephew and his nephew's partner, and his partner role in Cypress Partners, a real estate development company he and another nephew began in 2000.

A funeral mass at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 3 at Holy Name Catholic Church in Birmingham, 630 Harmon Street, will be followed by a reception at a location to be announced.

There will be no wake. Funeral arrangements are being handled by A.J. Desmond and Sons.

Survivors include: a sister, Helen Smith; two brothers, Edward and Terrence; nine nieces and nephews; and eight grand nieces and grand nephews.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Joanne Parks, who died in 1959.

The family suggests donations to either the Beaumont Hospital Integrative Medicine Fund (3601 W. Thirteen Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073) or the Eagle River Memorial Bridge Fund (7438 East Main Street, Eagle River, MI 49950).

Published: Thu, May 27, 2010

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