Shelly Jean Abate (Leek)


WINNEBAGO – Shelly Jean Abate (Leek), 53, went to her heavenly home on Monday, June 10, 2019. She left this earth after fighting a courageous battle with cancer, at home, surrounded by her husband and son. 

Shelly was born Dec. 1, 1965 in Rockford, to Cloy (Jim) James Leek and Marlene Ann (Geiger) Leek. She graduated from Stillman Valley High School in 1984. She went on to the Police Training Academy in Champagne, and shortly after joined the Winnebago County Police Department in 1990. She served 26 years on the department before retiring in 2016. She resided in Winnebago, with her husband of 24 years, Rich Abate, and her beloved son Adam Abate. Shelly was passionate about gardening and flowers. You could always find her in her beautiful yard or sharing laughs and coffee with family and friends on her porch. Her sense of humor and infectious smile made her someone everyone loved to be around. 

Shelly is survived by her husband, Rich Abate; her son, Adam Abate; her father, Cloy (Jim) James Leek (Irene); her sisters, Sheila (Spud) Miller, Sheri (Mike) Bossany; her brother, Randy (Julie) Leek; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She is predeceased by her mother, Marlene Ann (Geiger) Leek; infant sister, Pamela Leek; nephew, Joshua Leek; grandmothers and grandfathers.

A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. A memorial will be established in Shelly’s name. 

Genandt Funeral Home, 602 N. Elida St., Winnebago assisted the family. For an online obituary and tributes go to