By Rhonda Bodfield –
2016 FATHER OF THE YEAR HONOREE
Re-creating Childhood Joy – Edmund Marquez Passes on Legacy of Life Experiences
You can’t talk about Edmund Marquez as a father without first knowing what his own childhood was like.
Marquez distinctly remembers his 10-year-old self, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the bed in a Paris hotel room, counting with deliberate precision the francs and traveler’s checks spread out before him.
Every year for the annual family trip, his father gave him the job of budgeting – to figure out their available resources and how to stretch them through the remainder of the trip. It was a big responsibility.
Marquez readily absorbed the lessons that his father, Edmund Marquez Sr., an Allstate agent for 35 years, shared, including the importance of saving, setting aside retirement income and reinvesting in their business.
Marquez came from a close-knit family with open lines of communication and a certainty that success was achievable. His dad, who also was his Little League and soccer coach, preached the gospel of dreaming big and not being limited by fear.
His mother, Priscilla Marquez, urged him to jump in the trench and grind it out, because hard work and discipline would pay off. Both believed in raising independent children who could cook and clean for themselves, and who were convinced that travel was important in developing cultural awareness and personal growth. Marquez and his sister, Lea Marquez Peterson, saw Italy, England, France, Canada and Hawaii at young ages.
“It’s funny because what I realize is that my family today really mirrors the experience that we had as kids, right down to the communication, the positive attitudes and the travel,” said Marquez, a father of two who started with Allstate officially half a lifetime ago.
Marquez, who started working in his father’s agency in college, ultimately started his own branch, before buying his father out in 2000. At 42, he has three locations and is the largest Allstate agency in Southern Arizona. He’s also active in the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where his sister serves as president and CEO.
He describes his wife, Wendy Marquez, as his dream girl – stunning, loving and smart. They met when he was 19 and married when he was 24. Three years later, they began their family. First came Alyssa, now 15, and then Diego, 13.
“Kids teach you patience and they remind you to breathe,” he jokes, adding more seriously, “they’re great kids. They’re intellectual. We make sure to have the classic family dinner as often as we can, to sit down together and talk about our days.”
He doesn’t shy away from sharing his mistakes. “It’s important to discuss every lesson you ever learned – the good and the bad. In fact, the bad things that happened are often the best lessons and the ones you really should share.”
Family trips are a staple, just as they were for him while growing up. This year, it’s a three-week road trip that includes Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Boston and Nashville. “Life gets so busy that sometimes you can just feel like you’re passing one another. That’s why I value our trips so much. It’s a chance to have extended conversations about shared experiences.”
Active lifestyles also are important to the family. Diego plays soccer. A lifelong athlete, Marquez is a cyclist, riding five days a week as a member of the Jim Click racing team. Alyssa was a competitive long-distance runner who has turned to cooking as a passion.
Marquez said he is honored to be recognized by the Father’s Day Council Tucson, and to have a chance to support an important effort in the community.
It’s another opportunity to share with his kids the importance of giving back, said Marquez, who actively supports the YMCA of Southern Arizona, the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation and the Pima Community College Foundation. Marquez also serves on the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the DM50.
Over the holidays, his children joined him in volunteering at Miracle En El Barrio, serving up meals to needy families. Wendy, meanwhile, is involved in Angel Charity for Children, and Alyssa last year volunteered to help with the Angel Ball.
“It’s almost mandatory in our family to be involved in our community,” Marquez said. “No matter what you do in life, what you value the most is what you give away and give back.
“Life is all about experiences – not about collecting things. I’m giving my kids as many experiences as I can before they’re on their own. I always tell them, ‘I’m going to give you a paid college education but after that you’re on your own. You have to take everything we taught you and make the best of it. You’re on the planet for a short time, so make the most of this one chance. You can make it as great as you want it to be.’ ”