Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

In Memoriam: Shelley Martinek

Shelley Martinek – who planned phenomenal events for APRO and its membership for 30 years – died June 18, 2023, at the age of 70, following a hard-fought battle with glioblastoma brain cancer.

A Celebration of Life for Shelley will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at 11am CST at Life Austin Chapel, located at 8901 Highway 71 West in Austin, Texas.

Born July 22, 1952, in Danville, Illinois, Shelley Risser married her high-school sweetheart, Tom Martinek, in 1970. The couple moved to Austin in 1984, and Shelley stayed at home for several years to raise their four children.

In 1989, Shelley was hired by APRO as an administrative assistant, but her hard work and dedication soon put her into the position of Director of Education and Meetings. Over the next three decades, Shelley showcased her exceptional organizational and people skills – as well as her irrepressible sense of fun – in APRO events that ran like clockwork and became the stuff of RTO legend.

Shelly Martinek (center) celebrates receiving the TSAE Professional Excellence Award with APRO staff in 2016.

In 2019, Shelley transitioned to the Sheriff’s Association of Texas as Deputy Executive Director, continuing to work until her retirement last year, triggered by her cancer diagnosis. Shelley’s work earned her hundreds of friendships over the years, as well as the APRO President’s Award of Excellence and the Professional Excellence Award from the Texas Society of Association Executives.

Shelley’s parting message reflected her overflowing love of and gratitude for life.

“I love you, dear friends and family, and I ask you to share my love through you. Thank you for your love and friendship throughout my life. When you think of me, think of the smile I leave behind for you.”

Shelley is survived by her husband of 53 years, Tom; their children Jennifer (Adam) Masters, Joshua (Rebecca) Martinek, Jessica “Pepper” (Owen Gilbert) Martinek, and son-in-law Ivan Villavicencio; six grandchildren with one on the way; an expected first great-grandchild; and many extended family members and cherished friends. She was preceded in death by her mother, Norma Johnson Risser, and her firstborn, Jamie Ritter.

A complete obituary for Shelley can be found at the Harrell Funeral Homes website.

Upcoming Events