Volume 74, Number 27 | November 03 - 09, 2004

Obituary


Elizabeth Lochtefeld, 44, expediter, lived on Grove St.

By Hemmy So

Though the news reports on Elizabeth Lochtefeld’s death give sordid details of her tragic death on Oct. 25, memories recounted by family, friends and acquaintances paint only a glowing portrait of an outgoing woman who devoted herself to work, home and community.

A longtime Greenwich Village resident, Lochtefeld, 44, made her permanent move to Nantucket Island, Mass., this spring after years of summers and family visits to the coastal community.

After relocating to Nantucket, Lochtefeld immediately jumped into numerous volunteer activities in the arts there, founding a consulting service for local artists called The Left Side of the Brain for Artists and becoming a patron member of the Artists’ Association of Nantucket.

Her community involvement in Nantucket reflected a spirit that many remember from her days on Grove St. in Greenwich Village. While living at the co-operative Grove House apartment building, Lochtefeld served on its board of directors. In 1995, she became president and saved the co-op from bankruptcy, neighbors recalled.

Charlotte and Randy Little interviewed with Lochtefeld when they applied to live in the building. “Her smile immediately put me at ease,” Charlotte Little wrote in the guest book on Lochtefeld’s memorial Web site, www.bethlochtefeld.org. “After we moved in, Beth invited us up to her apartment for drinks with her close friends. She showed us her renovation photo album, and we were so impressed by the great job she did on her apartment.”

Other Greenwich Village residents remembered Lochtefeld for her kindness and friendliness even without knowing her very closely.

Michael Anastasio, a Grove St. Block Association member, met her about two years ago at the Bedford Barrow Commerce St. Block Association Fair. Lochtefeld introduced herself to Anastasio while he manned a table selling donated items for the block association. She ended up donating additional items and helping work the table, he said.

“After that day, I would just see her occasionally walking down the street and we would just stop and chat. Anytime [I] did see her, we’d always stop and chat. She was truly a beautiful person inside and out,” Anastasio said.

Kip Cosson recounted similar memories in his posting on Lochtefeld’s Web site. “We lived a block from each other, and many times I would see her in the neighborhood. We would stop and talk. She always had a smile for me,” he wrote.

Lochtefeld grew up in Peekskill, N.Y., and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1982 with a degree in American Studies. Out of her Manhattan bedroom 20 years ago, she founded Code Inc., an architectural expediting firm that helps architects understand and comply with New York City building codes. After building the company into a multimillion-dollar enterprise, she sold her share to her associates in 2002. The Nantucket resident also contributed time and expertise to University of Dreams, a summer internship program for college students founded by her cousin Eric Lochtefeld.

Throughout her life, Lochtefeld displayed great interest not only in her work and community but also personal interests, such as traveling, aikido and gourmet cooking. After graduating from college, for example, Lochtefeld spent a year in Asia teaching English and waiting tables and traveled through Russia and China via the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

“She was very well spoken, very well traveled, very bright and articulate,” Anastasio said.

Lochtefeld was found by Nantucket police stabbed to death in her rental cottage on Mon., Oct. 25. Police believe her ex-boyfriend of six weeks, former Manhattan financier Thomas E. Toolan, III, committed the murder. Numerous news reports indicate that after a loud argument at Toolan’s Upper West Side apartment the Friday night before Lochtefeld’s death, Lochtefeld escaped to Nantucket to be with her family.

On Monday, Toolan arrived in Nantucket and asked the victim’s landlord for Lochtefeld. The landlord then called Lochtefeld’s brother Peter Lochtefeld, who called Nantucket police. Shortly after her death, Toolan caught a flight to Hyannis, Mass., and was later stopped by a Rhode Island state trooper who recognized his rental vehicle from an all-points bulletin issued for the suspect. Toolan was arrested on charges of drunken driving and being a fugitive from justice.

Nantucket prosecutors are preparing an extradition request to Rhode Island to send Toolan back to Massachusetts to face a murder charge.

Lochtefeld is survived by her parents, three brothers, sister and 10 nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to: A Safe Place, 24 Amelia Dirve, Nantucket, MA, 02554.

A memorial service will be held on Fri., Nov. 5, at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, at 109 E. 50th St.

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