EDITOR'S NOTE: Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members’ stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please contact Karen Whitney at 996-1140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edy (Oscar) and Jill Luque’s relationship blossomed at the corner of Havens and Burr with the Jefferson Bus Line.
Oscar, a baseball player for Huron College, came to the United States from Panama on a baseball scholarship, originally to play for Iowa State University, when he was 18. Edy ended up at Des Moines Area Community College when Iowa State canceled its baseball program while waiting for his final scholarship offer. On his second day in the United States, he met Jill for the first time. They began dating a few years later.
Edy received offers to play baseball in places like Alabama and Florida, but he chose Huron College because it was the closest offer to Jill, who still lived in Iowa.
As Edy did not have a driver’s license yet, he would get a roommate to give him a ride to Mitchell, where he would catch the bus, and then, 14 hours later, Jill would pick him up at 2 a.m. in the Des Moines Bus Station for a short weekend together. A semester later, Jill made a move to Huron to be closer to Oscar.
Jill remarked, “A few weeks ago I saw the Jefferson Line pulling up to the same pick-up spot and I had such memories flooding back, I had to stop and take a picture.”
Jill and Edy married in the summer of 2005. Edy started working for the Dakota Provisions Turkey plant in 2006 as the Safety and Human Resources Manager. Since then, the size of the company has tripled. He also worked as a Spanish translator for 16 years for Huron Regional Medical Center. Jill worked for 12 years at a Huron Community Bank. During their time in Huron, they both invested their time and their hearts in growing the Huron Community.
Oscar David, now 13, and Liliana, 12, their children, were both born in Huron. Jill recollects how Edy was called away from her bedside after the delivery of Oscar to go and help translate for a Spanish-speaking patient. Jill says, “Edy is always the first to help when a need would arise.”
So how did the Luque family end up living and loving Mitchell?
A career opportunity presented itself for Jill with Plains Commerce Bank. Since Mitchell is within commutable distance for Edy and because they have always enjoyed coming to Mitchell, they decided to uproot their family and move to Mitchell.
“We couldn’t have picked a better neighborhood to land in,” Jill said. Soon after arriving, COVID hit, and with the support of their neighbors, they found the connection they were looking for.
Oscar and Liliana (Lili) are students at Mitchell Middle School. Oscar will be an eighth-grader and plays guitar and the trombone. He enjoys football and wrestling and last year earned Eastern South Dakota Conference champion in his weight class. Oscar is a joy to his teachers, a great leader, and like all the rest of the Luques has a big heart.
Liliana goes into seventh grade this fall, and her mother says, “She is fun and adventurous, not afraid of anything – a pure joy to her family and friends.” This summer, her softball team, with mom Jill as a coach, became the I-90 League Champions. Liliana also plays the guitar and trombone.
The Luques are artistic and athletic, but what they love most is opening their home to family, friends, and soon-to-be friends. Having guests is a family tradition, which is part of the culture in Panama they brought first to Huron and now Mitchell.
One of the reasons Jill loves working at Plains Commerce, a community bank, is because their goal is to give back and grow the community of their investors. Jill remarked, “Community banking as an industry aligns with my personal values of giving back, watching things develop and grow, and engaging in making our community an enjoyable place to live.” At Plains Commerce, Jill leads a great team. She says, “she couldn’t do it without them.” She also states, “It’s a real joy to give back.”
In addition to her job, she participates in the Mitchell Chamber, Ambassadors, Habitat for Humanity, the Snack Pack program, and any way she can connect with the people in Mitchell.
Creating a solid community, giving back, and making new friends are what make the Luque family tick. They contributed to building inclusivity in the Huron community with the influx of different cultures and now want to share their big hearts with Mitchell.
The Luques love to entertain, open their home to new people, connect people, and build a community family. They did it in Huron and now they are doing it in Mitchell.