Jolly Leslie Anama was known as the ''cookie guy."

Leslie F. Anama, 64

If you were a kid in the late ’90s through the early 2000s outside Chicago you might have found yourself wandering into the Bakery on Elm in Winnetka (or the Bakery from Elm in Wilmette) and staring into the numerous cases of Smiley Face or frosted ginger cookies, Kolacky, mini chocolate chip cookies, the cookies decorated for the season, the apple or cherry turnovers, chocolate or fruit coffee cakes, cinnamon raisin bread or the chocolate or citrus chiffon cakes in the freezer cases.

You’d hear the jazz ministrations of Beegie Adair, smell the sweet scents of the cakes and pastries, and witness the infectious smile and laughter of the owner, Leslie. People who made return trips to the bakery would often times get a small sweet treat, hear a joke, and might have gotten pulled into an impromptu dance lesson to whatever was playing on the store’s stereo.

Leslie Filoteo Anama was born on April 30, 1954. He attended and graduated from the Jesuit school Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines for elementary school and through college. He met his wife of nearly 45 years, Maridel Menguito, at a party when they were just 15 years old.

After a five- year courtship they married on November 14, 1973.  They welcomed their first of five children the following year and took over the family business of managing the Rolling Pin Bakeshop. Together they created Icing Arts – a company which specialized in sugar flowers. Leslie and Maridel had 3 more children while still in the Philippines and then decided to embark on an adventure which took them to the United States so they could expand their business across the Pacific.

Leslie and Maridel had their fifth child shortly after moving the whole family to Palatine, Illinois. While getting their business started in America, Leslie found work at Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston and afterward Aetna Life Insurance Company in Des Plaines.

He worked as a manager at a variety of different jobs until he saved up enough to purchase the Winnetka Cake and Pastry Shop on Elm Street. As the years went on he became known fondly as “the cookie guy” to the many children and adults in the community. He would send his cookies all across the country, bringing smiles and a piece of home to everyone who received them.

Any baked goods that didn’t get sold on any particular day would be carefully wrapped up and donated to food pantries, the Carmelite Monastery in Des Plaines, and to the sisters who lived and worked at St. Joseph Home for the Elderly in Palatine.

Leslie Anama passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Friday, October 19, 2018 surrounded by his loving family.

The family thanks his customers and friends for their support and friendship throughout the years.   Deciding to close down the bakery was  difficult, but all those long hours took their toll on the family as it kept Leslie from his ever expanding family, specifically his grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife of almost 45 years, Maridel, his five children – Noel “Anamite” (Dawn) Anama, James “Jaybee” (Zebeda) Anama, Patricia “Bambi” (Sam) Bell, Ligaya “Migay” (Shanna) Anama, Kathleen “Kylie” (Derek) VanWyhe; proud Lolo to 7 grandchildren – Hunter and Madelynne Anama, Lynn and Taylor Anama, Daniel and Charlie Bell, Lucas Contois Anama. He was preceded in death by his parents Leonor (nee Filoteo) and Felix Anama.

Condolences may be sent to the family at 4542 Opal Drive, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

His life will be celebrated 2PM, Sunday, November 18, 2018 at Addolorata Villa, 555 McHenry Road (Route 83), Wheeling, IL 60090 immediately followed by a visitation from 3-5PM.

A visitation will take place after mass at Addolorata Villa, Buffalo Grove beginning at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.