Albert Bernard Hurtt was born December 9, 1934, in Wilmington, Del.
Diagnosed with diabetes at age 16, Hurtt lived with this illness for 61 years. He died on May 23, 2012. He was 78.
He was the second of four children born to the late Joshua and the late Elizabeth Hurtt. The Hurtt family was staunch members of the Church of God and Saints of Christ.
Hurtt’s love of music became evident when at age four he began to sing in church. He enjoyed singing “I will cling to the cross till I die,” and one of his mother’s favorites “There’s a bright side somewhere.”
At an early age, Hurtt began to demonstrate several, creative and artistic abilities. Hurtt loved to draw and “make things with his hands.” He was encouraged by his mother to explore his varied gifts.
When Hurtt was 10 years old, his parents separated. His mother moved to Philadelphia with Hurtt and his three siblings: sister, Lillian (two years his senior) and younger brothers, Phillip and James.
There, they joined the Church of God and Saints of Christ Tabernacle #1 under the leadership of Bishop Jehu Crowdy.
Later, while attending Bartram High School, he was a member of both the gymnastic and fencing team. He managed to make his own pair of fencing swords from scrap metal. His swords rivaled those purchased by the school.
As a bass singer in the church choir, Hurtt soon found himself writing “church songs” and directing the choir. In the mid-1950s, his musical interests included Rhythm and Blues. He then began to seriously investigate a career in the music business. Hurtt was a self-taught musician playing both bass and keyboards. He never took a music lesson.
Hurtt formed a group (The Swinging Phillies) made up of his boyhood friends from church — Richard (Sammy) Hill, Charles Cosen, Ronald Headon and his little brother Phil.
His efforts resulted in a recording contract with King/Deluxe Records of New York and the 1958 release of their first recording entitled L-O-V-E written by Albert Hurtt. His music is still available via YouTube and Amazon.com
Hurtt had a rich relationship with his siblings; he and his sister Lillian adored one another, and his younger brothers Phil and James loved him dearly. They learned over the years how to get along with their highly opinionated brother — simply agree with everything he says or face the “wrath of Albert.” It was his way or the highway. He would show you the door, yet he possessed a great sense of humor.
In 1976, Hurtt met the love of his life Sylvia Turner. In 1977, they began dating.
Loved blossomed, and in 1987 they were married and Hurtt gained two stepsons Shelton and James Turner.
Hurtt loved the Lord, and God blessed him with gifts and abilities that would be a blessing to others, either through his music or his creative skill.
Hurtt worked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard from 1980 to 1995 as a sheet metal operator when he retired. During his time there, he received several monetary awards for his inventions and awards of excellence for his performance on the job.
Hurtt was a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, deacon, writer, singer, inventor and friend.
He and Sylvia were members of the Church of the Living God of Philadelphia where Elder Kenneth L. Fuller is pastor.
Hurtt leaves to cherish his memory: his loving wife, Sylvia; sons, Shelton and James Turner; sister, Lillian Gresham; brothers, Phil Hurtt (Louise); James Hurtt (Michelle); twelve grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; and a host of niece, nephews, cousins and friends.
Services will be held Wednesday, May 30 at the Church of Living God, 801 S. 11th St. in Philadelphia. Viewing is at 10 a.m. with the service beginning at 11 a.m. Internment at Fernwood Cemetery.